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The 



La Follette Illusion 



As Revealed 

In an Analysis of the Political Role of 

Senator Robert M. LaFollette 

By 

JAY LOVESTONE 

Author o/ 

'The Government-Strikebreaker," "American Imperialism," 
"Blood and Steel/' "What's What About Coolidge." 




Published by 

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Preface 

MILLIONS of workers and poor farmers are today being 
urged to accept the guidance and put faith in the pro- 
gram of a movement aiming to restore "the good old days." 

At such a time it becomes a matter of cardinal political 
import to scrutinize the activities and examine the principles 
of this movement. It is my purpose to analyze the record of 
Senator Robert M. LaFollette's forty years of politics with 
a view towards estimating historically the accomplishments, 
potentialities and promises of the movement which he leads 
and symbolizes. 

Time is always required to discover the political effects, 
the effects on the politico-economic class relationships, of any 
broad movement. Sometimes a great deal of time is re- 
quired. In the case of the "Wisconsin Idea," which LaPol- 
lette and his followers are now asking the workingmen and 
increasing army of expropriated farmers to help extend thru- 
out the country, we fortunately have had much time. 

In examining the significance of the present middle class 
"liberation" movement, the writer has been guided by two 
principles. First, what are the facts; second, and of equal 
importance: what conclusions do these facts weave as to the 
LaFollette group being worthy of the trust and leadership 
of the workers and dispossessed farmers? 

Governed by these two principles, I make it my objective 
to put the official record, the pertinent, authoritative esti- 
mates above and to the exclusion of opinion and conjecture. 

In conclusion, I want to express my indebtedness to my 
friend and comrade, Bert Miller, whose diligent and accurate 
research assistance has made possible this publication. 



JAY LOVESTONE. 



September 1, (Labor Day) 1924, 
Chicago, Illinois. 



54186 8 



Chapter I 



WHAT DOES LAFOLLETTE WANT? 

SENATOR ROBERT MARION LAFOLLETTE is now trying to get to- 
gether into a loose political alliance all the "honest" business men, 
the normally well-to-do farmers, the highly skilled laborers, and great sec- 
tions of the working class and the dispossessed farming masses. 

After more than forty years of failures to curb the growth of trusti- 
fied industry, the Wisconsin senator has decided to launch one grand 
offensive, a final rush, as it were, against the monster of "Special 
Privilege." 

What is LaFollette driving at? What does he want? Is he deserving 
of the leadership, of the confidence and the trust of the working and poor 
farming masses of the country? Is his program worthy of support by the 
exploited workers and the dispossessed farmers? 

Coolidge, the reactionary Republican candidate, does not hide his in- 
tents and purposes. "Cautious Cal" is out to strengthen and perpetuate 
the capitalist system of the exploitation of the workers and the poorest 
farmers. 

Davis, the Democratic standard bearer, proclaims his allegiance to the 
present economic order with equal devotion and as intense fervor. 

LaFollette, at the head of the third party movement, does not demand 
or seek the abolition of the capitalist system of production and exchange. 

Mr, LaFollette, the champion of the little capitalists, differs with Cool- 
idge and Davis, the spokesmen of the biggest employing class interests, 
primarily as to the best method of perpetuating the wage system. Coolidge 
and Davis would maintain the present class system by concentrating ever 
more the political and economic power in the hands of the strongest finan- 
cial and industrial overlords. LaFollette, on the other hand, would main- 
tain the capitalist system by diffusing the same political and economic 
power amongst the various social layers of the property-owning class. 

But of these three presidential candidates, LaFollette is the one who 
forcefully asserts that he is a progressive. He alone, of the three, goes 
out of the way to lay claim to the undivided political support of the work- 
ing and farming masses. 

It is our task to see whether Senator LaFollette is entitled to the con- 
fidence of the city and rural workers and to the trust of the expropriated 
farmers on the basis of his record, on the basis of his achievements in a 
political career of more than four decades. 

But before analyzing the contentions of the Wisconsin senator and his 
followers, it would be well for us to consider briefly the historical condi- 
tions, the material and social milieu giving rise to the LaFollette move- 
ment. 




A World Phenomenon 

At the close of the World War the employing class governments of the 
leading countries tended more and more to take on an openly reactionary 
and dictatorial character. 

This tendency was stimulated by political and economic class con- 
siderations of the capitalists. The fear of Soviet Russia; the terror struck 
in the hearts of the exploiters by the rapid rise of the Communist move- 
ment; the necessity to restore production and exchange at the earliest 
moment in order to save a tottering economic system; the need for crush- 
ing the most elementary demands of the working masses embittered by the 
severe depression which came after the Versailles Treaty — all of these 
forces lent impetus to the trend toward ruthless, open dictatorships. 

But soon there was a vigorous reaction to this development. In Great 
Britain the reactionary Baldwin and Curzon rule gave way to the Labor 
cabinet of Ramsay McDonald and Philip Snowden. In France the militar- 
ist Poincare gave way to the co-called Socialist ministry of Herriot. In 
Spain the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the notorious "Butcher" 
Weyler is on its last legs. Even in Italy, the cradle of Fascism, Mussolin's 
power is waning. 

Historical Background 

In the United States there was also developing a sharp swing from the 
black days of Palmer and Daugherty The seven million majority of Hard- 
ing was turned into a minority in less than three years. The strong re- 
sistance of the workers to the terrific open shop drive launched by the 
employers in the crisis of 1920-22 — the gigantic national textile, mining 
and railway strikes — led a good deal towards developing the political con- 
sciousness of our workers and hastening the change. Then, the acute 
agricultural depression of the last five years was a powerful force towards 
breaking up political and class alignments. For the first time in the his- 
tory of American politics the organized Farmer-Labor movement showed 
tangible signs and increasing evidence of assuming a national, organized 
character. 

In a word, the United States, like the other leading capitalist coun- 
tries, veered from the openly dictatorial, frankly violent governmental ad- 
ministrations to cabinets whose capitalist suppressive character was 
masked, to policies whose phrases had a peaceful tone, to foreign relations 
which had the veneer of liberalism and the hollow ring of abstract, pure- 
plus democracy. The Communist International has well characterized the 
present political era of capitalism as democratic-pacifist. 

It is in such a period, at such a turn in the historical development of 
the United States, that Senator Robert Marion LaFollette of Wisconsin ap- 
pears as the personification of the glories of the past, the aspirations of the 
present, and the dreams of the future of the small-sized and medium-sized 
capitalist property owners. He is thus seeking the political support not 
only of all "honest" business men, of all disgruntled, well-to-do farm own- 
ers and highly skilled laborers, but also of great sections of the working 
class and the exploited farming masses. 

Mr. LaFollette, the spokesman of the lesser developed owning interests 



which have been smarting under the whip of highly developed, monopolized, 
trustified industry, is now attempting to lead and control the slowly crys- 
tallizing class resentment of the working and poor farming masses against 
the biggest exploiters through a loose political alliance of the discontented 
working class and poor farmers with the middle class. 



Chapter II 



THE "WISCONSIN IDEA"— REGULATING PROFITS 



l_ many truly radical measures has he ever introduced or even sup- 
ported on the floor of the Senate? In fact, LaFollette's radicalism has 
been evident more in opposition than in support. . . . Unless you class 
the Railroad Valuation Act — one of the best legislative things that has 
ever happened to the railroads — or the Seamen's Act as radical, his name 
is identified nationally with scarcely a single law that truly goes to ex- 
treme. 

"And most of the legislation he promoted in Wisconsin is no longer 
classed as radical." 

This is the way LaFollette was sized up several months ago by Aaron 
Hardy Ulm, the correspondent of the reactionary Barron's Financial Week- 
ly, by one who has been working intimately with the Wisconsin Senator 
in many of his advocacies. 

LaFollette a Safety Valve 

We are further told by the well-known Richard Barry in Hearst's In- 
ternational of August, 1922, that the reactionary Senator Moses of New 
Hampshire, now high in the councils of Coolidge, said to him of LaFollette: 

"I disagree with his later policies, but I am frank to say it would be 
a grave error for Wisconsin herself to defeat LaFollette. . . ." 

Barry then goes on to say that a New York supporter, after hearing 
what Moses said, added: "He is our safety valve. Where else is a com- 
manding figure, who, while scrupulous about law and order, yet points the 
hopeful way to political revolution?" 

The Washington observer, William Hard, who has had a chance to see 
LaFollette in action for many years thus characterized the Wisconsin 
Senator as he was departing for Europe last year: 

"LaFollette, it is noted, has introduced no bills for vast governmental 
corporations for the buying and selling of farm products. ... He has 
seen many such bills introduced by radical senators and by progressive 
senators and even (as in the case of Senator Gooding) by conservative 
senators. He himself has given his name to none of them." 

At the last national convention of the Republican party held in Cleve- 
land, on June 10th, Congressman Henry Allen Cooper, leader of the Wis- 
consin delegation, pointed out that those who have been branding the La- 
Follette program radical had better keep in mind the fact that of the 
thirty-one planks offered by his state since 1908, no less than twenty-six 
have been enacted into law. Eleven of the thirteen proposed planks by 



J 



LaFollette in 1908 are now law. Fifteen of the eighteen proposals sub- 
mitted by LaFollette in 1912 have since been written into the federal stat- 
utes. Among these may be mentioned the enlargement of the powers of the 
Interstate Commerce Commission, the physical valuation of railroads, di- 
rect election of senators and regulation of telephones and telegraphs. 



Business Interests Safe 

And in accepting the presidential nomination at Cleveland, LaFollette 
further declared: "I am a candidate upon the basis of my public record, 
as a member of the House of Representatives, as Governor of Wisconsin, 
and as a member of the United States Senate. I shall stand upon that 
record exactly as it is written, and shall give my support only to such pro- 
gressive principles and policies as are in harmony with it." 

On this basis only we will take apart the warp and woof of the fabric 
of LaFollette's record. \, 

All the Wisconsin Senator wants today, or ever has wanted, is to make 
business safe and stable by removing its "evils." Preparing for his 1912 
campaign to win the Republican presidential nomination, LaFollette said 
in his Weekly 6f December 2, 1911: 

"The Wisconsin Plan is not to harass but to foster legitimate business. 
Legitimate business suffers quite as much as does the public from the 
depredations of the financial pirates who have so boldly domineered the 
seas of industry in this country for a dozen years and more. Wisconsin 
has outlawed the Captain Kiclds of business; but she has laid the hands of 
protection and encouragement upon the honest investor." 

In a special statement issued by Senator LaFollette on January 10, 
1924, relative to his railroad bill to amend the interstate commerce laws, 
we find the following illuminating evidence of the Wisconsin Senator's 
strong belief in the continuation of the present system of the private own- 
ership of capital whereby the working class is exploited: 

"The amendments which I offer are based upon the principle that the 
private owners of the railroads are entitled to be reimbursed for the actual 
cost of the services they performed and to be paid a fair return upon the 
money which they have prudently invested in property now devoted to 
public service. Just compensations for services, reimbursement of expenses 
and a fair interest on capital employed, should be paid those who devote 
work on property to public service, but no more." 



Stands for Private Ownership 

Here we have it. LaFollette insists that society should pay tribute to 
the owners of the railroads for their mere ownership which he calls "de- 
voting work on property to public service." This is precisely what the 
most ardent defender of the railway and other big business interests want. 

LaFollette and the most reactionary capitalists are agreed that capital 
should be privately owned. Both agree that this ownership entitles the 
owners to an income which, of course, is produced by those who work, by 
those who invest labor-power in production, by the working class. Their 

8 



difference is only over what constitutes a "just, legitimate" amount that 
the capitalist owners should take from the products of the workers. 

Proud of Big Profits for Wisconsin Capitalists 

In his 1912 campaign bible, entitled "^'Progressive Wisconsin," we find 
that LaFollette, then, as now, aspiring for the presidency as a progres- 
sive, was boasting over the beneficial effects ^his program has had on the 
biggest employing class interests in Wisconsin. AVe quote: 

"There has not been a railroad company important or minor, in the 
state that has not had an increase of profits, both gross and net, and this 
increase has been greater than that which the mere natural growth of the 
state would account for. ... 

"What has been the effect of this regulation on the business of the 
public utilities? 

"Many of them are now transacting unprecedented volumes of busi- 
ness, all of them are enjoying increased earnings. The securities of those 
companies have increased in substantial value and investments in them, 
particularly by small investors and by the smaller banks, has gone to the 
point where it betrays a healthy confidence." 

This is the "Wisconsin Idea" applied. This is the program that Mr. 
LaFollette holds out to the workers and farmers today as the source of 
their hope, as the road to their freedom from the railroad capitalists, the 
shipping magnates, the capitalist owners of public utilities— the exploiting 
class. This is Wisconsin, the "Model Commonwealth," that LaFollette 
would have the workers and dispossessed farmers extend throughout the 
country. 

Chapter III 

THE "WISCONSIN IDEA"— INSURING PROFITS 

THE facts of LaFollette's career weave the conclusion that he has done 
more talking but less acting against the cursed trusts than some of 
his reactionary colleagues with whom he has been working in the Repub- 
lican party for more than forty years. 

Bosses Approve "Progressive" Schemes 

Under these circumstances it is not surprising to find Theodore Roose- 
velt, writing on "Wisconsin— Safety of Prosperity," in LaFollette's Weekly 
of June 3, 1911, declare: 

"They made it evident not merely by words, but by deeds that they 
would not for one moment sanction any pandering to class hatred or any 
unjust assault on property rights. A big railway official, before I entered 
the state, had casually mentioned to me that if he had a just cause there is 
no tribunal in the country before which he would rather present his case 
than the Wisconsin railway commission." 

Let us for a change listen to the Honorable Daniel Hoan, the socialist 
mayor of Milwaukee, who has just jumped on the LaFollette band wagon. 
In Hoan's pamphlet, entitled, "The Failure of Regulation," and once offl- 



^» 



cially circulated by the socialist party of America, we find an array of 
typical, glowing tributes paid by big business interests to LaFollette's 
"progressive" program. We cite two such cases offered by Hoan: 

In response to a request for a Thanksgiving Day statement, John L. 
Beggs, then general manager of the Milwaukee traction trust, and "con- 
cededly the shrewdest financier and dividend maker which the utility 
corporations have supplied in Wisconsin in recent years," said in the Mil- 
waukee Morning Press of November 24, 1907: 

" 'I am thankful that the Traction affairs in the city of Milwaukee have 
gotten into the hands of the Railroad Commission of Wisconsin, an effi- 
cient body of men free from local prejudice, and capable of judging what 
is right. 

" 'It is the best thing that ever happened to the Milwaukee Electric 
Railway and Light Company. It will insure to the Company fair treat- 
ment, and to Milwaukee the best service we can give at a fair rate.' " 

Then Mayor Hoan tells us that Mr. H. Draher, manager of the bond 
department of the Marshall and Illsley Bank of Milwaukee, lauded the 
LaFollette regulation laws in an address before the Wisconsin State Tele- 
phone Association on February 21, 1912. According to the Socialist mayor, 
Mr. Draher declared that the regulation laws made it easier for corpora- 
tions to get franchise, gave long indefinite franchise permits, eliminated 
cut-throat competition, and "guaranteed to the investor a return of the 
money invested by compelling the cities to pay the full value of privately 
owned plants, whether they wanted to or not, in the event the cities pro- 
posed to go into the business." 

The approval with which the LaFollette program has met at the hands 
of some of the biggest capitalist interests in Wisconsin is also indicated 
in the following interview given Richard Barry, by an ex-official of the 
Northwestern Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee in Hearst's Interna- 
tional for August 1922 : 

" 'Some of us who fought LaFollette in the early days became his bene- 
ficiaries after his insurance and railroad acts got to working.' " 

Employers Reward "Regulators" 

Recently the country was stirred over the fact that William G. Mc- 
Adoo utilized his prestige as an ex-cabinet officer in obtaining employment 
at the hands of big corporations, like the Doheny Oil interests and the 
Republic Iron and Steel Company. It is no secret that this profitable em- 
ployment lost McAdoo the Democratic nomination and perhaps the presi- 
dency. 

But in Wisconsin there have been many such cases of ex-railroad com- 
mission, or ex-public utility commission officers being employed by the 
very corporations they were regulating as soon as their terms of office ex- 
pired. We will call upon so friendly a witness to Mr. LaFollette as Victor 
Berger to tell us of a few of the outstanding instances where the LaFol- 
lette regulators were rewarded with handsome jobs by the supposedly 
victimized corporations. 

Quoting from the Milwaukee Leader of August 6th, we learn: 

"J. P. Cadby, Madison, secretary of the 'regulated' Wisconsin Electric 

10 






& Gas Association, was formerly an employee of the Wisconsin Railroad 
commission. 

"Edward Strait, a rate expert with the H. H. Byllesby company, was 
formerly with the Wisconsin Railroad commission. 

"Public utility corporations also have taken two of the four men who 
have been secretaries of the Wisconsin Railroad commission during its 
existence." 

"A former railroad commissioner, Carl D. Jackson, bitterly remem- 
bered by Milwaukee citizens, 'served the state' from 1916 to 1922. He is 
now a public utility attorney in New York — general attorney of the Nation- 
al Electric Light Association and also for the National Gas Association, 
composed of 'regulated' privately owned public utilities." The latter was 
appointed by Governor Blaine whom LaFollette' is today supporting for 
re-election. 

In the same list Mr. Berger names a dozen other cases where the La- 
Follette "regulators" were royally rewarded, in the McAdoo fashion, by 
the very trusts and public utilities which they were regulating. 

More Smoke Than Fire 

LaFollette's state record shows that he has almost limited himself to 
talking rather than fighting against the monopolists. There has been more 
smoke than fire in LaFollette's war on the trusts. 

Again turning to Mayor Hoan of Milwaukee, we are enlightened as to 
how LaFollette handled the big corporations with silk gloves while he was 
governor. In Hoan's "Failure of Regulation" we read: "Not only were 
trusts not prosecuted in Wisconsin while Senator LaFollette was governor, 
but they have not been prosecuted before or since, in spite of the fact that 
there was then and is now a statute (Section 179 1-j) which provides in 
substance that any corporation organized under the laws of Wisconsin 
which shall enter into any combination or agreement to prevent competi- 
tion or to control prices, shall in an action to be instituted by the attorney- 
general of the state, have its charter revoked. 

"The above statute has been on the the statute books since 1897. 
Since that time we have had Democratic, Republican, Progressive, Tory, 
and lastly, Bull Moosely inclined governors. 

"Notwithstanding this splendid variety, no trusts have been prose- 
cuted in this state. All of this proves that if smashing th^ trusts is part 
of the 'Wisconsin idea' up to the present the idea has not materialized 
any tangible results." 

Regulation No Weapon 

LaFollette is and has been trying to fly in the face of industrial de- 
velopment. The fact of the matter is that, economically, great industrial 
units are both desirable and inevitable. Instead of demanding that these 
highly organized industries be socialized and controlled by the working 
class, LaFollette has been seeking to return to the old system of competi- 
tive, small industrial units. 

If attempted prosecution of trusts is to be considered a criterion of 
friendship to workers and poor farmers, then Coolidge and his anti-labor 
crew have at least as much right to be deemed friends of the working 

11 



Library 
fclrersity of T 



masses as the Wisconsin Senator. Since the Harding-Coolidge administra- 
tion came into office it has brought no less than sixty-one anti-trust suits. 
The contractors and manufacturers in the building trades, the sugar, lum- 
ber, pottery, and harvesting machinery corporations have been amongst 
the targets of the reactionary Republican administration. 

Of course, nothing dangerous or harmful has happened to these groups 
of powerful exploiters. 

Chapter IV 

LAFOLLETTE'S "ANGELS" 

EVERY successful capitalist politician has his "angels," his multi-mill- 
ionaire supporters. 
McKinley had his Mark Hanna, of iron and coal fame. Roosevelt was 
lavishly supported by G. W. Perkins, of the Steel and Harvester Trusts. 
Wilson had his Cyrus H. McCormick and David B. Jones of the Harvester 
and Zinc Trusts. Coolidge has his Dwight W. Morrow, of the House of 
Morgan. 

LaFollette is no exception to this golden rule of employing class poli- 
tics. Since his advent into practical politics, the Wisconsin senator has 
been supported by a heaven full of "angels" — bankers, sugar kings, manu- 
facturers, oil attorneys, wealthy merchants and multi-millionaires ranging 
from the notorious lumber baron, Stephenson, in the early day, to the in- 
ternational financier, Vanderlip, today. 

Multi-millionaires LaFollette's "Angels" 

When Senator LaFollette made his debut in public life, a millionaire 
lumber magnate, Stephenson, was his leading "angel." Altogether, Mr. 
Stephenson furnished about five hundred thousand dollars toward putting 
LaFollette in the front row at the national political theatre in Washington. 
In return for this generous and "angelic" support, the trust-busting La- 
Follette later did his bit toward putting this multi-millionaire in the 
United States Senate. While Isaac Stephenson was getting LaFollette's 
support in 1907, he played in the lumber industry the role that Harriman 
used to play in the railroad world. It will also be recalled that the ring 
of Stephenson's money was heard throughout the investigation of the 
notorious Lorimer scandal in the Senate. 

One of the chief supporters of the Wisconsin Senator today is Mr. W. 
T. Rawleigh, President of the W. T. Rawleigh Company of Freeport, Illi- 
nois, with a capital and resources of more than thirteen million dollars. 
Mr. Rawleigh employs a thousand workers and has factories also at Mem- 
phis and Winnipeg. Besides being the president of the largest proprietary 
product concern in the world, Mr. Rawleigh owns an interest in the Capi- 
tal Times published at Madison, Wisconsin. 

In declaring his allegiance to LaFollette, Mr. Rawleigh laid down an 
election policy which affords much food for thought and still more cause 
for action. He declared: "What the business men of the United States 

12 






want now, more than anything else, is a free, open, and competitive mar- 
ket in which to buy their raw materials and supplies, and the opportunity 
to buy, sell, and compete on an equal basis in the greatest producing and 
consuming market in the world." 

In climbing up the rungs of the ladder leading to the heaven of La- 
Follette's angels, we find a certain Richard W. Wolfe, formerly president 
of the Cook County Real Estate Board, and an old-time Democrat. Why 
Mr. Wolfe backs LaFollette is told in this fashion: "As a conservative 
business man, and tax-paying citizen, I am in favor of Robert M. LaFol- 
lette for president. He is not a radical, in the correct sense of the term. 
He is rather a cautious, prudent, and conservative statesman." 

It was not until Wheeler had received a telegram from Frank A. Van- 
derlip, former president of the National City Bank, and a director of ship- 
ping, railroad, realty, rubber corporations, and employers associations, that 
he agreed to accept the vice-presidential nomination. Mr. Wheeler's com- 
ment on the Vanderlip telegram is rather enlightening. LaFollette's run- 
ning-mate then said: "Well, it seems that I have been drafted for serv- 
ice. I'll agree. 

An examination of the personnel of the "LaFollette for president" 
Committee reveals an illuminating list of wealthy god-builders. We 
find: W. T. Rawleigh, the millionaire manufacturer, as chairman; Dante 
M. Pierce, the rich publisher of Pierce's Farm Weeklies, vice-chairman; 
Julius Kespohl, a well-to-do merchant; James H. McGill, an Indiana man- 
ufacturer; and R. F. Koenig, treasurer, a director of the Second National 
Bank of Freeport, Illinois. 

In Montana, James H. Baldwin, an attorney for several independent 
oil corporations, and law partner of Wheeler, is to be the manager of the 
LaFollette campaign. 

Rudolph Spreckles the sugar king, and California banker, is another 
LaFollette "angel." 

Finally, Herman L. Ekern, who is now Wisconsin attorney-general, 
by the grace of "Battling Bob," will direct the money-raising and finan- 
cial affairs of the entire LaFollette campaign. This is the same Mr. Ekern 
who was for many years an insurance lobbyist. 

Still Tied to Old Parties 

Senator LaFollette still has one foot — and it is a very firm foot at that 
—in the two biggest capitalist parties. 

Thanking Gompers for his endorsement of the "progressive" ticket, 
LaFollette rejoiced that "after deliberate judgment the American Federa- 
tion of Labor has adhered to Its traditional non partisan policy." 

When Wheeler was contemplating his acceptance of the vice- presi- 
dential nomination, he declared: "I have not quit the Democratic party. 
I will spend most of the summer campaigning in Montana for Senator 
Walsh and the Democratic state ticket." Wheeler will also wage a lively 
campaign to secure the re-election of United States Senator David I. Walsh 
of Massachusetts, another Democrat. 

Mr. LaFollette is likewise coquetting with William Thompson and 
Governor Small's boodle outfit in Illinois and scores of other regular Re- 

54186 8 



pu^Mcans and Democrats throughout the country. This is the same Will- 
iarL Hale Thompson who, as a delegate to the last Republican convention, 
voted to nominate the millionaire chewing-gum manufacturer, William 
Wrigley, Junior, as the Republican standard-bearer. 

Perhaps the best proof that LaFollette has not yet cut his umbilical 
cord of the Wall Street-owned Democratic and Republican parties is to be 
found in the fact that he is planning to endorse in wholesale Democratic 
and Republican congressional and senatorial candidates. One hundred 
and sixty-two congressional seats are to be filled in twelve states. LaFol- 
lette forces have announced that they will run their own candidates in, 
at most, only sixty-eight constituencies now represented by Republican and 
Democratic party office holders. In other words, in the majority of these 
congressional districts, LaFollette will call on the workers and farmers 
to continue voting for Republicans and Democrats. 

Little Regard for Labor 

In endorsing and supporting political candidates LaFollette has sel- 
dom paid much attention to the opinion of the workers. 

In Berger's Millwaukee Leader of October 22nd, 1920, we find a letter 
by H. G. Hannahan, Socialist Party candidate for Congress in the ninth 
Wisconsin district. This letter tells how LaFollette put up Thompson to 
run for the United States Senate in opposition to Frank J. Weber, a Labor 
leader. It goes on to say : "And here comes Bob LaFollette and his would- 
be progressives and would-be union men and puts up Mr. Thompson. . . 
That's dirty politics on the part of the progressives. . ." 

Today, LaFollette and Wheeler are whole-hearted supporters of United 
States Senator Thomas J. Walsh who has just been denounced by the an- 
nual convention of the Montana State Federation of Labor for his anti- 
labor record. 

Of the eleven chosen to serve as his joint executive campaign com- 
mittee, only two spokesmen of the labor movement, at best, official labor 
leaders, William H. Johnstone, of the International Association of Machin- 
ists, and D. B. Robertson, of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and 
Bnginemen, have been picked by LaFollette. This is the maximum extent 
to which the Wisconsin Senator is ready to recognize the workers whose 
millions of votes he is now seeking. 



Chapter V 

PURE-PLUS POLITICS 

THE LaFollette forces are now making another one of those perennial 
"final" efforts to elect only good, honest, progressives to public office. 
But the story of the LaFollette regime in Wisconsin affords abundant 
proof of the fact that the fundamental cause for corruption in govern- 
ment lies in the private ownership of the means of production and ex- 
change socially used. The honesty of the individual men at the helm of 
the administration is only a secondary force in the governmental corrup- 



14 



tion taking root in this very economic relationship which the so-ca 1 Ml 
progressive forces are seeking to perpetuate. 

Bribery Handled with Silk Gloves 

When LaFollette was making his entry into practical national 
politics, he was offered a bribe ranging from five to fifteen hundred 
dollars by United States Senator Philetus Sawyer of Wisconsin. A 
certain Charles T. Pfeister, who held many positions of trust and con- 
fidence in moneyed and manufacturing corporations, was charged 
with bribery, fraudulent granting of franchises, and other crimes against 
the public. Pfeister had Senator Sawyer try to bribe LaFollette to "fix 
things" up with the judge who was to try his case, Judge Siebecker, 
LaFollette's brother-in-law. 

Of course, LaFollette refused the bribe and openly declared that Saw- 
yer had attempted to buy him. But that is where this case of rank cor- 
ruption ended. Sawyer was never prosecuted. LaFollette never did any- 
thing to secure a criminal indictment against Sawyer. And Pfeister, 
member of the firm of Pfeister-Vogel and Company, which has for years 
been promoting a blacklist against organized labor while it was at the 
same time supporting the so-called "good government" league, also 
escaped harsh treatment. This bitter foe of the workingmen was hand- 
led with silk gloves in the "Model Commonwealth." Recently Mr. Pfeister 
became associated with Judge Backus, a member of the LaFollette ma- 
chine, in the board of directors of the Milwaukee Sentinel, a Hearst 
publication. 

Not Free from Corruption 

When LaFollette was governor of Wisconsin, he had the opportunity 
he is now seeking to banish graft and corruption from government. How 
successful LaFollette was as a purity crusader in his gubernatorial career 
and to what extent LaFollette would bring "clean" government to Wash- 
ington if elected president, can best be seen from the conditions which 
prevailed in his state when he was governor. 

If we examine the files of the Social-Democratic Herald, the pre- 
decessor of the LaFollette mouthpiece, the Milwaukee Leader of today, 
we find the following description of "clean" government under LaFol- 
lette's governorship: 

"The so-called half-breeds, or the followers of Robert M. LaFollette, 
are by instinct, make-up, and past history as wicked a set of grafters 
as their stalwart brethren ever dared to be. As a matter of fact, there 
is a constant flux from the stalwarts to the half-breeds and vice-versa, 
according to how the jobs and the graft that was to be gotten, reached 
around — for the men who did not get any, immediately turned 'reformers.' 

"Otto Seidel, one of the self-confessed grafters, ran on the half-breeds' 
ticket last fall. And all in all, there is not the least doubt in anybody's 
mind that the half-breeds are in no way or shape better than either the 
Stalwarts or Democrats. Only they happen to have the district attorney 
on their side." (August 12, 1905.) 

15 



And in the Milwaukee Sentinel of October 1, 1905, we are given the 
following insight into the reign of honest government in the model com- 
monwealth: "The grand jury which has been in session since early in 
June, probing graft in city and county government, made its final report 
to Judge Brazee of the Municipal Court at ten o'clock last night and was 
discharged. Twency-four indictments were returned with its final report. 
"One of the sensations of the evening was the indictment against 
William Murphy. It will be remembered that several days ago Murphy 
(former alderman), wrote a letter to the grand jury saying he was ready 
to furnish it with some information. He was summoned, but as soon 
as the jury ascertained that he had evidence of bribery to furnish against 
two 'reformers' and LaFollette leaders, the jury excused him. He told 
his experience to the newspapers, and the jury, finding public sentiment 
aroused, thought best to let the former alderman testify, especially since 
for weeks the district attorney had been trying to get Murphy to tes- 
tify on graft. 

"Murphy went before the jury and said that one of the so-called 're- 
formers' had given him $400.00 for his vote for the "Wells tunnel grants. 
He also charged that another 'reforer' had given him, through his agent, 
$50.00 for his vote for a sidetrack." 

The orgy of corruption in LaFollette's Wisconsin commonwealth, is 
summed up in this fashion by the Social-Democratic Herald, of October 
21, 1905. 

"The bribery, stealing and open debauchery in Milwaukee was such 
that even the bribers could not stand it any longer. Public opinion com- 
pelled the district attorney about two and a half year ago to ask the 
criminal court for. a grand jury. Since then several indictments have 
been returned. Over a hundred city and county officials have been in- 
dicted. They have been indicted for almost any crime that public offi- 
cials could possibly commit." 

Backs Capitalist Politicians 

In essence, LaFollette's political machine is like the political ma- 
chines of the corrupt and reactionary cliques dominated by the biggest 
capitalist interests. The Wisconsin senator has been a rather glib talker 
for many years against big whips, bosses, and misleaders utilizing their 
hold on the government either for service to big corporate interests or 
for their own ends. Looking into LaFollette's actual doings over a span 
of years in politics and power, we find that his machine has served to 
build gods and make bosses out of as many tools of the big exploiters 
as have the machines of the Democratic and Republican parties. 

Thus the Milwaukee Leader of March 14, 1918, unfolds the following 
tale of "Battling Bob" placing himself squarely behind the worst type of 
employing class politicians and tools: 

"SO/ Senator Robert Marion LaFollette, according to the Free Press, 
places himself squarely back of the candidacy of James Thompson. 

"That's an old story. 'Bob' placed himself squarely back of Isaac M. 

16 



~ 



— 



^ 



Stephenson in his day. 'Bob' placed himself squarely back of Jim David- 
son a little later. 'Bob' placed himself squarely back of Francis E. 
McGovern. 'Bob' placed himself also squarely back of Irvine Lenroot, 
and 'Bob' placed himself squarely back of Paul O. Husting as a fair- 
minded' Democrat. 

"We could mention a dozen other prominent politicians in Wis- 
consin behind whom Robert M. LaFollette 'placed himself squarely.' With 
the exception of those who have died — all of these proteges of 'Bob' are 
great jingoes, reactionaries, and profiteer patriots today..." 

Among the progressive saviors or honest men in capitalist govern- 
ment with whom LaFollette associated himself at one time or another, 
in his program or whom the LaFollette machine supported are the fol- 
lowing men who blossomed out into supine servants and vigorous de- 
fenders of the blackest employing class interests: Albert J. Beveridge, of 
Indiana; Albert B. Cummins, of Iowa, author of the Esch-Cummins act; 
Hiram W. Johnson, of California; the fake Teapot Dome investigator, 
Senator Irvine L. Lenroot, of Wisconsin; Miles Poindexter, Washington; 
Gilford Pinchot, now governor of Pennsylvania; William Allen White, of 
Kansas, and Medill McCormick of International Harvester Trust fame. 

Finally, at this very moment, the differences between the cogs in 
the wheels of the LaFollette machine and the active supporters of, and 
workers for, Coolidge in Wisconsin, are so thin and so vague, that Mr. 
Arthur Evans, was led to the following view of the situation in the Chi- 
cago Tribune of August 15: 

"Thus the Coolidge movement in Wisconsin is being directed largely 
by elements quite as closely identified with the progressive legislation 
that made the state famous ten and twenty years ago, as were the 
present LaFollette captains, and even closer." 



Chapter VI 



I 



WHO OWNS "PROGRESSIVE" WISCONSIN 

IN a survey of "Who is Who in Congress?" recently made by us, we 
found that the employing class has at least three hundred and twenty- 
three out of the four hundred and thirty-five congressmen who are 
either directly or indirectly associated with, or serving the ruling clique. 
In the Senate, the big interests have at least seventy-nine out of the 
ninety-six members on their side, either thru economic or social con- 
trol. 

Bosses Own Government 

In the state of Wisconsin, where LaFollette is the big political boss, 
the situation is nearly the same as in Washington, where Coolidge is the 
chief executive. On the basis of an investigation made by the Wisconsin 
State Federation of Labor, as reported in its 1921 convention proceedings, 

17 



we find that there were at that date in the Wisconsin Senate, one auc- 
tioneer, four bankers, one cheesemaker, one contractor, one doctor, five 
farm owners, one insurance man, two real estate men, two retired cap- 
italists , two publishers and journalists, one lumber man, four manufac- 
turers, two merchants, one public service agent, two salesmen, eight 
lawyers, and only four mechanics. 

At the same time there were represented in the assembly the follow- 
ing occupational divisions: one architect, four bankers, two clerks, three 
contractors, three corporation officials, one doctor, forty-four farm owners, 
one hotel keeper, two publishers, ten lawyers, one live stock buyer, four 
lumbermen, seven merchants, four real estate dealers, six retired cap- 
italists, three salesmen, two insurance men, one fisherman, and only 
seven mechanics. 

Thus we find that out of a total personnel of forty-two senators, 
there are only four members of the working class, and that out of a hun- 
dred and ten assembly men, there are only seven members of the work- 
ing class. 

The State Federation of Labor, which is extremely friendly to and 
a strong supporter of LaFollette, characterized this ownership of the 
state government by the employing class by saying that except for about 
nine Senators; "The rest were entirely out of harmony with labor 
program and should be classed as representing the interests of capital." 

Regarding the Assembly, the State Federation of Labor declared: 
"Sixty-five members may be classed as ultra-reactionary and absolutely 
controlled by special interests." 

Serves Middle Class 

In the view of Mr. John Ballard as expressed in the Outlook for 
September 5, 1923, this employing class ownership of the senate and 
assembly in the state of Wisconsin is to be explained as follows: "Busi- 
ness of the kind that is represented by manufacturers' associations is in 
the main against LaFollette and his policies, but business in the person 
of the man with moderate capital is with 'Bob' both in little towns and 
big ones. 

"To a lesser but steadily increasing extent the same middle class 
emancipation from old party ties has gone on in the other states over 
which the LaFollette influence has spread." 

Workers' Enemies Given Jobs 

The LaFollette machine has on many occasions appointed corpora- 
tion lobbyists to important posts in the government where they could 
do most damage against the working men. 

In his appointment of Eugene Wengert as district attorney of Milwau- 
kee and George B. Skogme as assistant district attorney of the same 
city, Governor Blaine flatly disregarded the recommendations of the or- 
ganized workers of the state. 

Thus we And the Qfflcers' Reports to The Wisconsin State Federa- 
tion of Labor Convention, held at Wisconsin Rapids, July 15-18, 1924, 

18 



• 






declare: "We regret to say that no recognition of labor has been given 
in the selection of lawyers to fill the important office of judge. In this 
regard labor was encouraged to entertain a hope, but was finally ig- 
nored." 

Workers Disregarded by Legislature 

In LaFollettania, as in the other states where the capitalist class is 
supreme, the legislature has little regard for the needs and demands of 
the working class. From the latest available Officers' Report to the 
Wisconsin Federation of Labor Convention held at Superior on July 17-20, 
1923, we learn of the following frankly anti-labor attitude of the state as- 
sembly and senate: 

"The legislature as a whole, could not be termed a real progressive 
body. The majority of the senate lived up to its reputation of conserv- 
atism and seemed to take delight in defeating progressive legislation." 

Among the leading labor measures killed by this LaFollette legis- 
lature were bills providing for an eight hour day on public works, the 
eight-hour day on all state printing, the extention of the one day in 
seven rest law, an act requiring railroad car shops or other concerns 
manufacturing or repairing cars to provide buildings protecting em- 
ployees from heat, rain, cold, snow and so forth, an employment compen- 
sation measure, an old age pension bill, a bill to abolish private detective 
agencies, and the State Federation of Labor measure aiming to limit the 
hours of work per day in mills, factories, and manufacturing establish- 
ments. 

Courts Used Against Workers 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has been particularly hostile to the 
workers. Every annual report of the officers of the State Federation of 
Labor abounds in evidence of this hostility. We recall the instance where 
a boy, 6 years of age, Jerome Ptack, met his death thru the negligence of 
one Kuetemeyer. A jury rendered a verdict in favor of the father of 
the boy for $3,500. The judge reduced the sum to $1800. The Supreme 
Court acting on the appeal of the insurance company, further reduced 
the amount to $1,000. The State Federation of Labor, commenting on this 
action of the judges against the jury, declared in its specially prepared 
pamphlet on the case entitled "The Wisconsin Supreme Court's Queer 
Slant on Life." 

"The Wisconsin State Federation of Labor cannot dictate to the 
Supreme Court of Wisconsin what its constitution of law shall be, but 
it can protest against an illegal and inhumane principle being given the 
force of law; and it vigorously protests the invasion by the court of the 
constitutional right of trial by jury." 

One of the main reasons given by the Supreme Court for reducing 
the amount rendered in the first verdict was the fact that the father 
had intended to send the boy to school. Consequently, the court 
reasoned, the father was not deprived of any income thru the death of his 

19 






son. In the eyes of these judges, it was a crime for the father to plan 
to send his son to school. Apparently workers must be penalized for 
attempting to secure an education. 

Costly Litigation Hurts Workingmen 

Protesting against the burden placed on the workers thru costly 
litigation in courts, the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor convention 
held on July 15 to 18 of this year, declared: "The whole matter has 
been in litigation for years, and we do not know how many more years 
these cases will be dragged. Compare these with the rapidity with which 
courts act in the issuance of injunctions in labor disputes." 

The workers have suffered especially in compensation cases. We 
learn from a statement by R. G. Knutson, member of the State Industrial 
Commission, appearing in the report of the Wisconsin State Federation of 
Labor for 1922, that "In the eleven years in which the compensation act 
has been enforced, during which time over 100 appeals have been taken 
by workmen, there has not been a single case in which an injured work- 
man ever got a cent thru an appeal." " 

Injunction Menace Serious 

In the 1921 State Federation of Labor convention proceedings we find 
that great stress is laid on the extent to which the workers have been 
suffering in LaFollette's "model commonwealth". We quote in part a 
special anti-injunction resolution adopted by this convention: 

"Whereas, four of our brothers, members of labor unions of Rhine- 
lander, are confined in the county jails of Oneida and and Langlade coun- 
ties, having been sentenced to imprisonment on charges of contempt of 
court by Circuit Judge Reid, following the issuance of an injunction 
against the paper mill workers, and in behalf of the Rhinelander Paper 
Co. 

"Resolved, by the Wisconsin Federation of Labor, in convention as- 
sembled, July 19, 1921, in the city of Manitowoc, that we extend hearty 
greetings to these brothers who have preferred prison bars to submis- 
sion to autocratic impositions." 

Finally, in 1922, the State Federation of Labor was compelled to 
pass a special resolution against the courts of Wisconsin along the fol- 
lowing lines: 

"Whereas, we are of the belief that some judges hold shares of 
stock and have financial interests in companies, firms, and corpora- 
tions, and 

"Whereas, by the holding of such shares of stock and having such 
financial interests they are very apt to be prejudiced in their judgments 
and decisions therefore be it 

"Resolved, that it is the sense of this convention that such a condi- 
tion is not consistent with justice, especially in cases arising out of 
strikes, such as injunctions and assault and battery cases." 






Chapter VII 

THE WORKERS IN WISCONSIN 

IF working conditions are to be accepted as a sound criterion of gen- 
uine progressivism, then LaFollette's Wisconsin experiment is a sham 
and a delusion to the laboring masses. 

Low Wages and Long Hours 

According to the findings of the latest, 1919, census of manufactures, 
the average monthly cost of labor, or wage per month, in the manufac- 
turing industries in t^e United States is $96.50. Wisconsin falls well 
below this average wage for the country as a whole, with an average 
monthly wage of only $91.69. Thus Wisconsin holds the unenviable twen- 
ty-ninth place in the ranks of the monthly wages paid the working men 
of the various states. 

This low wage is significantly painful when one realizes that it is in 
no way due to a lack of industrial development. In Wisconsin 92.6 per- 
cent of the workers engaged in manufacuring industries are employed 
by corporations. Wisconsin ranks fourth in the United States in the 
proportion of workers employed in manufacturing industries owned by 
corporations, but ranks only twenty-ninth in the average monthly wage 
paid to these working men. 

Since this investigation was made Wisconsin wages have declined 
sharply. For all industries, according to the April, 1924, United States 
Monthly Labor Review, the average weekly wage in the Badger state 
was $26.87 in December, 1920. Today, according to the June Report of 
the Wisconsin State Industrial Commission, the average weekly wage for 
all workers is only $23.93. 

' While the wages are low, the hours of labor are long in Wisconsin. 
For the United States as a whole the proportion of wage-workers in the 
manufacturing industries having forty-eight hours or less of labor per 
week is 48.6 percent. But in LaFollette's "Model Commonwealth," only 
31.3 percent of the workers engaged in the manufacturing industries 
have a forty-eight hour week or the average eight-hour day. Tho tenth 
in the number of men engaged in the manufacturing industries of the 
country, Wisconsin ranks only thirty-ninth in the proportion of its work- 
ers in these industries laboring forty-eight hours a week or under. 

Open Shop Movement Powerful 

Wisconsin is one of the banner states of the open shop movement of 
the country. Let us consult the secret minutes of the regular quarterly 
meeting of the Milwaukee Employers' Council, held on June 8, 1921. 

"The Milwaukee Employers' Council is at present composed of twenty- 
eight industrial groups, representing a total of six hundred and sixty-two 
plants and approximately sixty thousand employes on wages. 

"... All the principal industries are represented and we are organ- 
izing new groups every month. At present the council represents con- 
siderably more than half of Milwaukee's industrial strength. 

"J. M. Bell, Sercetary-Manager." 



20 



21 






This report goes on to boast of playing an active part in the fight 
against the job printers for a forty-four hour week and in the strikes of 
the tailors and sheet metal workers. 

Turning to the May, 1924, "Members' Supplement — Freedom in Em- 
ployment" published by the Milwaukee Employers* Council, we further 
find that: "The printing industry is now overwhelmingly open shop in 
Milwaukee, and in due course we expect to see the allied photo-engraving 
and electrotyping industries follow suit. We shall not rest until this is 
accomplished." 

This same bulletin then announces: "In Milwaukee we actually have 
a large proportion of open shop in building construction; perhaps sixty- 
five percent." 

And its June, 1924, supplement proudly declares: "The Milwaukee 
Branch, National Metal Trades, Association, is apparently leading the 
country in its apprenticeship work. This kind of work is of the utmost 
importance to the open shop." 

Smashing the Unions 

The terrific drive these open shoppers have been waging against the 
workers was roundly denounced by the State Federation of Labor in its 
1923 convention in a special resolution from which we produce in part: 

"The railroad owners have set out to wreck the shop crafts unions by 
organizing scab unions of so-called company associations of employes, 
and are endeavoring to compel all shop crafts workers to join these 
scab unions, by threatening discharge and visiting other punishment 
upon the workers for failing to join these scab unions." 

Private detective agencies also do a flourishing business in Wiscon- 
sin strike-breaking. 

Testifying before the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commissioner on 
October 17, 1921, Walter G. Russel, the head of the scab-herding agency 
stated that his firm now employs twelve hundred detectives, and an- 
swering the question as to what line of work these agents do, said: "If 
you ask, do we do strike work, yes. Do we put men in factories to report 
information to the heads of firms? I would say yes. Do we have men in 
unions? Yes." 

Allied with Open Shoppers 

The progressive LaFollette government in Wisconsin covertly and 
overtly aids and abets anti-labor activities. 

Describing the proceedings of the State Federation of Labor Conven- 
tion, the Milwaukee Sentinel for July 22, 1922, said: "Administrative 
bodies were, flayed for alleged failure to prosecute employers who, labor 
says, violate the provision compelling the advertisement of the fact that 
a strike is in progress when labor is imported to fill strikers' places." 

And at its 1921 convention the State Federation of Labor was forced 
to protest against open shop construction in the erection of high schools. 
The special resolution against this policy of the government reads: 

"The carpenters of the Fox River Valley District Council consisting 
of those cities from Fond du Lac to Green Bay, inclusive, have been on 

22 



st\-ike since the first of May, fighting against the so-called 'Open Shop' 
which the contractors are endeavoring to impose upon them." 

Trade Union Movement Weak 

The, Wisconsin trade union movement, tho on many occasions show- 
ing hopeful sign of militancy and genuine progressivism, is lamentably 
weak in numbers and strength to resist the aggression of the highly or- 
ganized ppen shoppers of the state. 

In the year 1919-1920, before the fierce open shop drive was launched, 
the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor had a total affiliated member- 
ship of only 51,645. Of these a maximum of 30,977 were employed in the 
manufacturing industries of the state. At this time, there were, accord- 
ing to the findings of the United States Census of Manufactures, 263,949 
wage earners employed in the manufacturing industries of Wisconsin. 
Compare these figures with the fact that the Milwaukee Employers' 
Council alone represented sixty thousand or more than half of the in- 
dustrial strength of the leading industrial city in the state. 

Of course, even this strength of the trade unions was reduced by the 
vicious open shop drive of 1921, as can be seen from the following report 
on membership made to the 1922 convention of the State Federation of 
Labor: 

"The affiliated unions show a decrease of but sixteen percent in 
membership at the close of the year, as compared with the same months 
of the previous year. . . . 

"The fiscal year has closed with many unpleasant memories to the 
workers and their families due to unemployment and the desperate 
efforts of capital to annihilate their organizations. ..." 

This is the freedom enjoyed by the workers in LaFollette's "Model 
Commonwealth." 



Chapter VIII 



RURAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN BADGER STATE 

JUST as Wisconsin ranks very low in the wages paid its industrial 
workers, so it does in the wages paid its agricultural laborers. 

Our analysis of the December, 1923, issue of Weather, Crops and Mar- 
kets, published by the Department of Agriculture, reveals that there 
were at least fourteen states paying higher average monthly wages to 
their farm laborers in 1923 than Wisconsin did. This is the pay for rural 
laborers without board. 

For the average monthly pay to farm laborers with board, our in- 
vestigation shows that in 1923, in at least thirteen states, the workers 
received higher remuneration than they did in Wisconsin. 

LaFollette Program Fails Farmers 

And the farmers, whose special friend LaFollette says he is, have 
met with continued adversity in Wisconsin. 

On Aug. 5, 1924, Edward Nordman, Wisconsin state commissioner, 
of markets, delivered an address before the State Retailers' Association, 

23 




in which he made the following significant remarks: "Agricultural land 
is rapidly passing out of the ownership of the dirt farmer and into the 
hands of the men who use it as a safe place to invest their money. This 
practice forces the independent farm owner to settle on poorer land or 
in out-of-the-way places." 

Our analysis of the 1920 United States Census findings on agricul- 
ture discloses how the farming masses of Wisconsin are being driven 
to adversity at an even faster pace than the farmers of the country as 
a whole. 

Farm Mortgages Increase 

From 1910 to 1920 the proportion of farms free from mortgages in 
the United States as a whole declined from 65. C per cent to 52.8 per cent 
At the same time the Wisconsin farms free from mortgages declined 
from 48.3 per cent to 36.2 per cent in 1920. 

But here is a matter of serious concern to the farmers in LaFollette's 
state. In the decade 1910 to 1920 the proportion of mortgaged farms in 
the country as a whole, rose from 33.2 per cent to 37.2 per cent. In the 
same period the proportion of mortgaged farms in Wisconsin rose from 
51.1 per cent in 1910 to 59.9 per cent in 1920. Thus we see that the pro- 
portion of farms free from mortgages is much smaller in Wisconsin than 
in the country as a whole, and that the proportion of mortgaged farms 
is much greater in Wisconsin than it is in the country as a whole. 

Further light on the increasing hardships of the Wisconsin farmers 
is shed by the findings of the 1920 census as to farm debts. For the 
United States as a whole, the proportion of debt to the value of the 
farm increased from 27.3 per cent in 1910 to 29.1 per cent in 1920. But 
in Wisconsin the ratio of debt to the value of the farm increased from 
34.3 per cent in 1910 to 37.8 per cent in 1920. It is evident that the Wis- 
consin farmers are falling into debt more rapidly and are today in rela- 
tively greater debt than the farmers of the country as a whole. 

Mortgage Debt Rises 

The total amount of mortgage debt for Wisconsin farmers rose from 
about $150,000,000 in 1910 to more than $350,000,000 in 1920. 

The farming masses of this great "model commonwealth" are also 
paying an exorbitant price for these difficult conditions in the form of 
oppressive taxes. From a tax study made in twenty-six states for the 
year 1919, by the Department of Agriculture, we find that the part of 
the net cash rent from the farms paid out in taxes by the Wisconsin 
farmers is higher than in twenty-four of the twenty-six states investi- 
gated. Only one state, Pennsylvania, shows a higher proportion of the 
net cash rent being devoured by taxes than does Wisconsin. 

"Since that year taxes have generally increased, while rents have 
been reduced," says the Department of Agriculture in its summary of 
the investigation. 

Social Conditions Unsatisfactory 

For the last fiscal year industrial accidents showed a startling in- 
crease in the United States. The American Association for Labor 

24 



Legislation recently made an investigation of this tendency. Its findings, 
after hearing from one-half the compensation states, indicate that in 
1923 the increase in industrial accidents in Wisconsin was 27.4 per cent. 
Wisconsin had a higher rate of industrial accident increase than eleven 
other states investigated. All in all, only nineteen states replied to the 
queries of the American Association for Labor Legislation. 

From the summary of the provisional birth and mortality figures for 
1923, recently issued by the Department of Commerce, we learn that 
Wisconsin has little to be proud of in this field. No less than twenty 
states show at least as good a record as, and eighteen of these show an 
even better record than Wisconsin for the last year in the death rates, 
in the proportion of deaths per one thousand of the population. Wiscon- 
sin is one of the twenty-five states in which death rates for 1923 were 
higher than for 1922. 

Workers' Education Neglected 

Wisconsin has always boasted of its great educational system. But 
the workers have enjoyed very little of the advantages afforded by La 
Follette's generosity in this respect. From the "Instruction in Wiscon- 
sin Schools; Report of the General Executive Board," 1920 convention 
of the State Federation of Labor, we learn that: 

"For 7,200 university students the state of Wisconsin in 1919-1920 
spent $4,000,000. For more than 20,000 employed children between the 
ages of 14 and 17, the state spent one-eighth as much." 

This extreme disproportion certainly does not betray a whole-hearted 
interest on the part of the LaFollette machine in the education of the 
workers. 

Unsanitary Labor Conditions 

Nor are the sanitary conditions of employment even up to the mark 
set for them by the various state laws. So conservative a paper as the 
Milwaukee Journal in its issue of December 1, 1920, tells us that: Wis- 
consin factories are not living up to the state sanitary safety code, ac- 
cording to a statement by Mr. George P. Hambrecht, chairman of the 
Wisconsin Industrial Commission, following complaints from Milwaukee 
workers that unsanitary conditions prevail in some workshops." 

In the Wisconsin labor camps the conditions are even more deplor- 
able, as has been shown in the investigation made by the Wisconsin In- 
dustrial Commission, "Labor Camps in Wisconsin." 

Child Labor Record Poor 

Wisconsin's child labor reiord is poor. Tho it is the tenth state in 
the number of men gainfully engaged in manufacturing industries, it is 
the fifth state in the total number of children under sixteen years of 
age employed in these industries. New York state which has the great- 
est number employed in manufacturing industries has only 6,288 children 
working in these industries, while Wisconsin has 6,906. Incidentally, 
the total number of gainfully employed in manufacturing industries in 
New York is more than four times the total number employed in these 
industries in Wisconsin. 

25 



From 1910 to 1920, according to the latest investigation prepared by 
the Department of Commerce, entitled "Children in Gainful Occupations" 
the number employed in the country as a whole (ten to fifteen years of 
age) decreased 46.7 per cent. At the same time the decrease in the total 
number of children ten to fifteen years of age, engaged in these gainful 
occupations in Wisconsin, was only 34.4 per cent. 

In the East North Central group of states in which Wisconsin falls, 
the average decrease of children employed in gainful occupations was 
42.8 per cent, or greater than it was in LaFollette's own state. In thirty- 
three states the rate of decrease of children gainfully employed in all 
occupations was greater in the last decade than it was in Wisconsin. 

The percentage of the total children employed between the years 
of ten and seventeen is greater in Wisconsin than in twenty-seven other 
states. 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin's industrial center, is among the cities having 
a hundred thousand or more inhabitants, and ten per cent more of their 
child population ten to fifteen years of age gainfully employed. 

Obviously LaFollette's much over-estimated "Wisconsin plan" has 
proved a signal failure insofar as its effectiveness to remove the inherent 
evils of capitalism is concerned. 



Chapter IX 



LAFOLLETTE ACCEPTS THE IMPERIALIST WAR 

BEFORE the United States entered the World War, the Wisconsin 
"progressive" wizard held the belief that it was not America's busi 
ness to join the infernal fray. Once the war was declared, however, La 
Follette accepted active American participation as a fact. He then lined 
up to support loyally the prosecution of the war and to hasten its vic- 
torious conclusion for the capitalist class in whose behalf it was fought. 
LaFollette differed with other supporters of the imperialist conflict 
only as to method, but not as to the waging of the war itself. The Wis-. 
consin senator's attitude toward the war was the same as his present 
attitude to exploitation of the working class by the employers. LaFol- 
lette is not opposed to the system of capitalist exploitation. He is op- 
posed to some of its methods and differs from the Lodges, the Smoots, 
the Coolidges, and the Davises only as to methods of exploiting the 
workers. : 

Voted War Credits 

Not only did LaFollette not fight against the war to make the world 
safe for plutocracy, but he even voted all war credits. And dollars, it 
must be remembered, are the sinews of *all capitalist wars. Then, tho 
he opposed the armed ship bill before the United States joined the Allies, 
he did not speak on this measure, did not utter a word against it in the 
senate. 



LaFollette Peldged Self for War to Utmost 

When one thinks of the suffering of the Communists, the revolution- 
ary workers, in every country for their opposition to the imperialist 
bloodfest, he is immediately convinced that LaFollette did everything 
but fight against the World War. There is an unbridgeable chasm be- 
tween the war records of Robert M. LaFollette of the Republican Party 
of Wisconsin and Karl Liebknecht of the Communist Party of Germany. 

Listening to State Senator Henry A. Huber's speech before the Wiscon- 
sin upper house on February 23, 1918, we hear him say in defense of La 
Follette's war record: "War having been legally declared, LaFollette 
immediately accepted it as a fact. He set about to make effective war. 
He believed it to be wise to make war as effective as possible that it 
might be the sooner ended. . . ." This was exactly the reasoning of 
the capitalist super-patriots and the profiteers. 

Didn't Interfere 

And turning to an address delivered by LaFollette before the United 
States senate, as reported in the Congressional Record (Page 681) of 
April 14, 1917, we read: "I do not desire to hamper our own effort to 
speedily prepare to prosecute this deplorable war." 

Ten days later LaFollette took occasion to tell the senate (See Cong. 
Rec. April 27, 1917; Page 1362): "First, all our naval and military re- 
sources should be concentrated on the solving of the submarine prob- 
lem." 

Pleading that the country arm itself to the teeth, the "progressive" 
leader who would now have us believe that he fought against the war, 
thus implored his colleagues in the senate (Cong. Rec. Oct. 6, 1917; Page 
7,887): "It is said by many for whose opinions I have profound respect, 
and whose motives I know to be sincere, that 'we are in this war and 
must go thru to the end.' That is true. 

"There is, and of course can be, no real difference of opinion con- 
cerning the duty of the citizen to discharge to the last limit whatever 
obligation the war lays upon him. 

"Our young men are being taken by the hundreds of thousands for 
the purpose of waging this war. . . . Nothing must be left undone 
for their protection. They must have the best army, ammunition, and 
equipment that money can buy." 

Here we have a song very much in sympathy with the chant sung to 
the working men by the Garys, the Schwabs, the Morgans, and the Na- 
tional Security and Defense Leagues. 

LaFollettism Not Opposed to Imperialist Wars 

Scrutinizing Senator LaFollette's voting record during the last im- 
perialist war, one sees that the self-appointed progressive Messiah is no 
enemy of capitalist aggression when it is wrapped in such empty phrases 
as "war for defense" and "safety and security of the country." 

In a speech he made at Port Washington on July 18, 1917, LaFollette 
plainly said: "I didn't believe in waging war to collect Mr. Morgan's 

27 



money for him." Yet, having no illusions about the character of the 
bloody struggle, LaFolIette voted for 55 out of 60 war measures, prior 
and subsequent to this declaration. 

The Wisconsin senator at no time proposed to take away from the 
imperialist diplomats and the financiers their powers to make war. At 
most LaFolIette has sought to give the masses who fight the wars a voice 
along with the intriguing capitalist statesmen and the profit-hungry boss- 
es. Thus we find him say in his Political Philosophy (p. 205): "Why not 
let those who must pay have something to say? Why not let the people 
themselves, on whom the burden of war falls, have a voice — some direct 
expression — along with finance and diplomacy, in determining whether 
there shall be war, or whether there shall not be war?" 

Not Really Against Conscription 

Likewise, LaFollette's opposition to the conscription bill before it 
became law was only to the method pursued by the employing class in 
murdering the sons of the workers and poor farmers and not to their 
right to call upon the working masses to fight their imperialist battles. 
In the Wisconsin state senate Hon. H. A. Huber, thus on February 23, 
1918, defended and explained LaFollette's opposition to conscription on 
the basis of military efficiency: 

"Had men been enlisted in an orderly manner as needed, they could 
have been equipped and supplied as called, and we would not now have a 
million men drawn away from essential industries awaiting transporta- 
tion that cannot be fully provided for more than a year yet. LaFolIette 
was right as events now amply show. Notwithstanding he opposed the 
conscription act, upon its passage, LaFolIette immediately counselled full 
compliance with the law." 

Little Hostility to Capitalism 

Nor was LaFolIette dangerously hostile to the big employing inter- 
ests in the revenue measures proposed by him to raise more than enough 
money with which to finance the war. 

In his discussion of the income tax bill before the senate, he said: 
"The public must pay enough for the products to furnish a good round 
profit for the capital actually invested." (Cong. Rec. September 3, 1917; 
p. 6530). 

Not only did LaFolIette differ merely as to the method of financing 
the imperialist war, but he advocated his own plan for adoption of which 
he argued on the ground that it would safeguard the spirit of war among 
the masses. Thus the Wisconsin senator made his plea for his plan as 
follows before his colleagues in Washington: 

"I tell them one and all, that by their refusal to justly tax war prof- 
its and excessive incomes, they are destroying the war spirit among the 
hundred million people of this country, which is absolutely necessary if 
we are to acquit ourselves even creditably in this great war." (Cong. 
Rec. September 10, 1917; p. 6861). 



28 



Tax Rich to Breed War Spirit 

Finally, LaFolIette demanded that the peace terms of the capitalist 
war be stated not because he might thus expose the true character of 
the conflict and throw a monkey wrench into the imperialist war ma- 
chinery, but because he was convinced that such a statement by the 
ruling class of this country would tend to win the masses more firmly 
to the war campaign. We need but turn to the speech delivered by La 
Follette to the United States Senate on October 6, 1917, to see this truth: 

"Such a course (a declaration of the purposes of the war) would also 
immeasurably, I believe, strengthen our military force in this country, 
because when the objects of this war are clearly stated and the people 
approve of these objects, they will give to the war a popular support it 
will never otherwise receive." 

Such was and is the opposition of LaFolIette to capitalist imperial- 
ism and war. And such is the support the workers and dispossessed 
farmers should give the Wisconsin senator in return on the basis of his 
war record. 



Chapter X 



LAFOLLETTE DOES HIS BIT 

WHEN we look into LaFollette's voting record on the sundry war 
bills considered and enacted by Congress from this date to the 
conclusion of the war we find that he voted for fifty-five out of sixty 



such measures. 

Our detailed examination of LaFollette's war record follows: 

LaFollette's Pro-War Record 



[\ 



April 6 

The Badger State Senator voted for the appropriation of $163,841,000 
for the general deficiency, one hundred million of which were imme- 
diately placed at the disposal of the president for any war purposes he 
might decide upon. 

April 11 

The Wisconsin senator supported a bill to appropriate $147,363,928 
for "sundry and civil expenses of the government." 

Voted for an appropriation of $1,344,896 for the military academy. 

Supported the 1918 army appropriation totalling $273,046,322. 

April 17 

LaFolIette votes "YEA" on "A'i act to authorize an issue of bonds 
to meet expenditures for the national security and defense, and for the 
purpose of assisting in the prosecution of the war, to extend credit to 
foreign governments and for other purposes." The total amount voted 
at this time was $5,063,054,460. Three billions went to the Allied im- 
perialists as loans. 

29 



April 20 

Supports the measure to increase the midshipmen of the navy. 

Votes for raising the age limit for officers of the naval reserve from 
35 to 50 years. 

Favors an act providing for the issuance of rifles and equipment to 
the home guards. 

April 28 

LaPollette votes "YEA" on an amendment to draft bill for volunteers 
to protect the border and on an amendment to call for 500,000 volun- 
teers and draft any deficiency after ninety days. 

April 30 

Supported a resolution empowering President Wilson to take over 
the German and Austrian ships in American harbors. 

May 9 

Votes for the Administration's amendment to the Federal Reserve 
Act. 

May 14 

Tho voting against the Espionage act, LaFollette supported an 
amendment to the Espionage act, giving the president power to make 
rules preventing the disclosure of movements of vessels and other war 
activities, but providing that this should not be construed as preventing 
the criticism of the acts or policies of the government. 

May 15 

Votes for proposal to increase the enlisted strength of the navy, 
from eighty-seven to one hundred and fifty thousand, and the marine 
corps from 17,400 to 30,000. 

Supports McCumber amendment to organize a board to devise ways 
and means of guarding against submarine attack. 

May 16 

Favors a resolution permitting the Red Cross to erect temporary 
buildings in Washington. 

May 19 

Supports a bill appropriating $3,281,094,541 for war expenses." This 
was the largest single appropriation ever made up to that time by any 
government in the world. Of this sum, $405,000,000 was for building 
a shipping fleet. 

May 22 

LaFollette supports an act to increase power of Interstate Commerce 
Commission in respect to car service. Favors an act appropriating $45,- 
150,000 to insure vessels and their cargoes. 

Votes in favor of naval appropriations as provided for in H. R. 
10,854. The bill was unanimously agreed to. 

In order to secure better control of transportation during the war, 
LaFollette favored a bill to increase the personnel of the Interstate 

30 



Commerce Commission and also for an amendment to prevent the in- 
crease of railroad rates until approved by the Commission. 

May 29 

Votes in favor of an act to encourage retired officers to re-enter the 
army in the engineering corps. 

June 2 

Votes for the Food Survey Bill, carrying appropriations of $11,336,- 
000 for sundry purposes. 

June 15 

Votes for bill providing for condemning land for military purposes. 

June 16 

LaFollette favors bill giving president power to direct that war ship- 
ments should have priority over all other shipments. 

June 18 

Favors bill granting officers of the Public Health Service serving on 
coast guard vessels in time of war, or enlisted in the navy or army, the 
same pensions as army or navy officers. 

June 21 

LaFollette supports measure for National Security and Defense by 
stimulating agriculture and appropriating for same $11,346,000. 

June 26 

LaFollette allows the senate to pass measures providing for the 
drafting of the state militia and the National Guard into the Federal ser- 
vice, without a roll call. 

July 14 

Supports the establishment of a permanent aviation station for mili- 
tary and naval forces in the harbor of San Diego. 

July 21 

Votes for the Food Control Bill, appropriating $162,500,000. 
Supports an appropriation of $640,000,000 for aviation. 

July 23 

Favors a bill to relieve entrymen of desert land when they enter 
the naval or military service. 

July 26 

Asserting that money is more needed for war purposes, LaFollette 

votes against the River and Harbor Appropriation Bill, during the war. 

Supports amendment giving president power to limit expenditures 

on rivers and harbors during war, to actual necessities. Amendment 

defeated. 

August 22 
LaFollette supports a bill to provide an air craft station for the 
navy at the cost of $150,000. 

31 




September 11 

Votes for an act to secure the secrecy of patents on war inventions 
during the conflict. 

September 12 

Favors the organization of an air craft board and a hundred thou- 
sand dollar appropriation for the same. 

Supports an act called "The Trading with the Enemy Act" making 
it unlawful to carry on business with an alien enemy. 

September 13 

Supports an act providing for the appointment of twenty chaplains 
at large for the army. 

September 15 

Votes for the bill authorizing the second bond issue giving the secre- 
tary of the treasury, with the approval of the president, the power to 
borrow $7,558,945,640 for war expenditures, and to issue other certifi- 
cates of indebtedness, up to four billion dollars and war saving stamps 
up to two billion dollars. 

Several amendments proposed by LaFollette to limit the rate of in- 
terest to four per cent, to issue bonds in sums of twenty dollars or mul- 
tiples thereof, and to tax incomes derived from bonds, were defeated. 

September 25 

LaFollette supports the second big appropriation for the war, total- 
ling $5,356,666,016. 

October 4 

Supports bill permitting public land affidavits to be taken before 
military officers. 

Votes for act providing insurance for military forces and for injured 
soldiers and dependents involving an appropriation of $176,250,000. 

October 5 

Supports a measure providing for commissions in the army for medi- 
cal and dental corps. 

Votes to fix commutation price of the navy ration. 

Votes to establish ratings for artisans in the army. 

Supports an act empowering the president to use cavalry as artillery 
regiments. 

Favors a bill permitting vessels of foreign registration engaged in 
coastwise shipping to be admitted to American registration. 

Supports an act granting six months' pay as a gratuity to families 
of deceased officers and making same applicable to all retired officers 
re-entering active service. 

Favors act extending morality and liquor sections of army draft law 
to the navy. 

October 6 

LaFollette supports a bill facilitating the purchase of land for the 
Ordinance Department. 

32 




i 



From the close of August to about mid-September, 1917, Congress 
was busy with the war revenue measure. 

During all this time LaFollette was feverishly at work in an effort 
to raise the maximum sum of money with which to wage the war on the 
basis of levying higher tax rates on war profits and big incomes rather , 
than on the incomes of the middle and lower groups of capitalists. La 
Follette's proposals in this direction were of course, defeated by the 
spokesmen of the uppermost crust of the capitalist class. But none of 
LaFollette's amendments aimed at preventing the imperialists from 
getting war funds. He aimed only at transferring the burdens of war 
to the biggest capitalists from the lower group of exploiters. 



■ 



THE 



Chapter XI 

MODEL COMMONWEALTH"— A PACEMAKER 
IN MILITARISM 



WISCONSIN, the state which LaFollette always holds up as an example 
of what a government ought to be to and for the working and farm- 
ing masses, is one of the leading militarist states in the Union. 

On examining the annual reports of the Chief of the Militia Bureau 
we find that only two states in the Union, ^diana and Wisconsin, have 
doubled their National Guard strength between 1915 and 1922 In 1915 
there were 3,291 in the Wisconsin National Guard. By 1922 the number 
rose to 6,900. Wisconsin is one of the four states that has gone even 
further than required by the National Defense Act. 

More Armories 

This campaign to maintain Wisconsin as a pacemaker in militarism 
is further shown in the quarterly report for the period ending December 
31 1923 made by State Engineer, John G. D. Mack. Here we learn that 
four new Wisconsin armories have just been completed and located at 
Abbotsford, Clintonville, Milwaukee and Hudson. 

Describing the mushroom growth of militarism and its effects m La- 
Follette's political satrapy, Mr. William T. Evjue said editorially in the 
Capital Times, July 28, 1924: 

"Up at Camp Douglas the annual fan-fare of Wisconsin s military 
display is in progress. Thousands of young men are marching. The bands 
are playing. The guns are booming. The reviewing stands beam as the 
boys go marching by. . . . 

"Do you know, Mr. and Mrs. Citizen of Wisconsin, that Wisconsin is 
today the seventh state in the Union in militarism? Do you know that in 
spite of the big cut made in appropriations in the last legislature that 
there are only six states in the Union having a larger national guard than 
Wisconsin's? 

"And this is a state that is overwhelmingly committed to peace! This 
in a state controlled by progressives who have made attacks on militarism 
one of the cardinal points in their platforms!" 

33 



1 



But in the appropriation of funds for militarism, Wisconsin ranks 
even worse. The last available annual report of the Chief of the Militia 
Bureau reveals the fact that in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1922, only 
three states appropriated more money for their National Guards than Wis- 
consin did. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1923, only four states, 
Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, spent more than Wisconsin 
for the National Guard. 

Pacemaker in War Preparations 

When Woodrow Wilson called upon the American workers and poor 
farmers to shed their blood in order to make the world safe for capitalist 
democracy, LaFollette's state, Wisconsin, rallied to the imperialist colors 
and wantonly sacrificed the lives and dollars of the working masses. 

Let us listen to a glorification of Wisconsin's war efforts by John M. 
Nelson, now national director of LaFollette's presidential campaign, as he 
delivered it to Congress on behalf of the Wisconsin delegation, on July 
15, 1918: 

"The President, as Commander-in-Chief, has had our unanimous sup- 
port on all war issues. When he asked for appropriations, we gave him all 
he asked; when he asked for authority to issue bonds, we gave it to him; 
when he asked for authority to control our food, fuel, railroads, telephones, 
telegraphs, mines and factories, we gave him the authority; indeed, we 
did not hold back as a delegation when he asked for power over our liber- 
ties and our lives. . . . 

"Once war was declared, I accepted the majority decision for war. I 
recall only three votes out of about 120 since war was declared upon which 
I was not in full accord with the Administration. . . It has been stated 
that I voted against conscription. That is a base falsehood." 

Support War Loans 

And from the Milwaukee Journal of October 10, 1918, we learn of the 
strong support accorded the various war loans in the home of LaFollette, 
now seeking workingmen's votes as an anti-war candidate. We quote: 

"Total bond sale is $102,000,000. 

"The forty-five counties in Wisconsin in the Chicago Reserve Bank 
District have bought $102,000,000 worth of bonds compared with a quota 
of $100,000,000. Since subscriptions are still being tabulated, the final 
total will be still higher. Twenty-seven Wisconsin counties are over 100 
per cent, Kenosha leading with 142 per cent. Milwaukee is eighth, with 
109 per cent of quota, according to the present tabulation." 

The total amount of war bonds sold in the 71 counties of Wisconsin, 
according to Pixley in "Wisconsin in the World War," is about 
$335,900,720. 

Workers Used as Cannon Fodder 

LaFollette's progressive, peace-loving state was as lavish with the 
workers' lives, as it was with their money in the last capitalist world war. 

In the announcement by Governor Blaine, August 2, 1924, on the pro- 
posed Defense Day plans, we are told that the number Wisconsin sent to 
the front reached a grand total of 124,814. LaFollette's gubernatorial 
candidate then goes on to declare proudly: 

34 









, 



i 



"In no war during its history had Wisconsin failed to answer the call 
for national defense or within its own boundaries known industrial or 
military disorders, and the fact that on July 18, 1918, when American arms 
stemmed the tide in the second battle of the Marne, one out of every fifteen 
soldiers wearing the American uniform in France came from Wisconsin." 

Workers Hate Wisconsin Militarism 

The workers of Wisconsin have at no time had any illusions as to the 
extensive military preparations going on in the state. The following ap- 
pearing in the Milwaukee Leader of May 12, 1921, shows the misgivings of 
the workers aroused by the record-breaking military appropriations voted 
in the state: 

"The efforts to increase its personnel and give greater power to the 
National Guard are viewed in labor circles with mistrust and open 
declarations that it is not done with an eye to an outside foe, but to pre- 
pare to put down labor. 

"Labor men claim that Fort Sheridan was located midway between 
Chicago and Milwaukee by the capitalistic interests that guide the military 
policies, so that regulars will be on hand to meet labor troubles." 

The great service the Wisconsin Naional Guard is to the Badger 
state bosses can be seen from the fact that, under the usual pretense of 
riot and violence, several companies of troops were rushed to terrorize 
the workers into submission in the Cudahy strike of August, 1919. 

In the strike of the meat cutters against the Cudahy Packing Com- 
pany, one of the beef trust firms, Governor E. L, Philipp of Wisconsin 
rushed three companies of National Guardsmen from Camp Douglas, fully 
equipped and prepared to stay for an indefinite time, in order to "mediate 
the dispute" against the workers. 

LaFollette Supports Wisconsin Militarism 

Robert Marion LaFollette has been a consistent supporter of the mil- 
itary system in Wisconsin. In his message as governor he declared in 
1905: 

"The people of Wisconsin should recognize their importance and take 
just pride in maintaining the Guard. . . . The model of efficiency in the 
military service in this country is the United States Regular Army; and 
every effort should be made to bring the militia as near this standard as 
possible." 

Then, in February, 1923, an effort was made, because of the strong 
labor opposition to the rapid strides in militarism that Wisconsin was 
making, to abolish the National Guard. Even Mrs. LaFollette lent support 
to this movement. Senator LaFollette then came upon the scene and led 
a vigorous opposition to this effort to abolish the Guard. 

The bill to do away with the state militia, hated by the workingmen, 
had passed the assembly. Preparations were afoot to fight for its adoption 
by the state senate. But LaFollette, the self-styled anti-militarist, soon 
entered the lists against the Wisconsin workers, lined up with all the 
enemies of organized labor, joined with all the open shoppers and killed 
the move to disband the state militarist organization. 

35 







"H 




Chapter XII 
LAFOLLETTE IN CONGRESS 

IN his twenty-five years at Washington, Robert M. LaFollette has been 
the outstanding figure in the fight for but one measure which might 
be called a labor law in the strict sense of the term. Except for the fight 
led by him in behalf of the enactment of the Seamens' Law, Senator La- 
Follette has not been directly connected with any noteworthy labor legis- 
lation. 

It is true he voted for the Woman Suffrage Amendment, the proposed 
Child Labor Amendment, the establishment of the Department of Labor, 
and the eight-hour day for government employes. It is true he was 
against the Ship Subsidy Bill, the Esch-Cummins Act, and the Fordney 
McCumber Tariff Bill. But these votes could scarcely be interpreted as 
signs of genuine progressivism, as evidence of unrelenting hostility to the 
employing class interests. Many Republicans and Democrats have voted 
for and against those measures precisely in the same way as LaFollette 
did. Yet, no one would on his account call these congressmen and sena- 
tors progressives worthy of the support of the workers and farmers. 
Many of those who have voted for the Woman's Suffrage Amendment or 
the Howell-Barkley Bill for abolishing the Railroad Labor Board are to- 
day ardent advocates of the election of Coolidge or Davis. 

Progressivism on Wane 

If we analyze LaFollette's attitude towards such pressing questions in 
Congress as raising the revenue, the regulation of business and the 
tariff, we will find that the Wisconsin Senator has not been fundamental- 
ly antagnostic to the corporate interests of the country and has conscious- 
ly expressed and fought for the needs of the middle and smaller capitalists 
as against the encroachments of the biggest capitalist groups. At no time 
has LaFollette spoken or worked for the laborers as a class against the 
employers exploiting them. 

In such questions as the restriction of immigration, the giving of more 
power to our capitalist government to the control of the movements of 
workers, or in the matter of Japanese exclusion, LaFollette has not taken 
a commanding position to stay the hands of the exploiters in utilizing 
these occasions to divide and weaken the workers. 

Not Against Big Capitalists 

In debating the various revenue measures preparatory to America's 
entering the war, Senator LaFollette made it very plain in offering his 
amendments that he did not relish the idea of being a foe of the business 
interests of the land. Thus he declared that he was not in fundamental 
disagreement with them on the basic issues and further said : "It is in no 
spirit of partisanship that I criticize the revenue bill now before the senate 
but in *the hope and belief that that majority is open to argument and will 
accept amendments to the measure calculated to improve it without en- 

36 






i 



croaching upon any of the tenets, political or economic, of the majority 
party." (C. Rec. p. 4489, Feb., 28, 1917.) 

In general, LaFollette represented the interests of the small business 
class and the small bankers on this all-important question of revenue 
raising. On August 18, 1917, for instance, LaFollette voted against a bill 
to put a tax of one cent on checks, drafts, etc. Senator Simmons, the 
Democratic tax expert, thus explained the opposition to the proposal: "It 
is stated correctly that there was a protest, I might say quite a general 
protest, on the part of the bankers against this tax, but this protest came 
chiefly and especially from the smaller banks." 

Further strong interest in the welfare of the small manufacturer and 
manufacturing group on the part of LaFollette is displayed in the follow- 
ing comment on his amendment to the schedules on wool under considera- 
tion in the action on the tariff measure before the senate on June 10, 1909 : 

"The great manufacturers have their rights, which should be duly re- 
garded. I would not disparage the men who are manufacturing under 
this wool schedule. . . . 

"The position on the carded wool industry is such as to invite the 
earnest attention of congress. It is the last branch of the wool industry 
which is still accessible to the man with moderate capital. With the 
American Woolen Company in control of about sixty per cent of the out- 
put of American woolen cloth, and with the independent manufacturers of 
worsted cloth organizing into another combination, the carded wool indus- 
try, accords the only chance for the small manufacturer." 

Similar solicitousness in behalf of the capitalist class was manifested 
by LaFollette when he voted on October 10, 1921, to provide for free tolls, 
free transit for American ships through the Panama Canal. 

Was Reactionary in Congress 

When LaFollette first entered Congress, and during his six years as a 
member of the House of Representatives, he was a "regular" in every 
sense of the word. LaFollette was a members of the House Ways and 
Means committee which framed the McKinley Tariff Bill in 1890. An 
examination of the rates on sixty articles in this law shows that on the 
whole they were practically identical with the rates on the same articles 
in the Fordney-McCumber Act of 1922. Addressing the House of Repre- 
sentatives on May 10, 1890, in behalf of the McKinley Bill, LaFollette 
said: 

"Repeal the protective duties and you have stopped the looms, put out 
the fires, stunted as with the hand of death the busy industries of my 
state. . . . It is to preserve the markets of this country to our own 
producers that we have kept the duties like a breastwork, high enough 
to protect the man who is busy adding to the sum of its wealth from as- 
sault from any foreign source." 

Then, in denouncing the Bryan proposal to establish a stable govern- 
ment in the Philippines and then withdraw, LaFollette entered into the 
following eulogy of American imperialism: 

"The market which the Philippines will afford the U. S. while amount- 
ing to many millions annually, is unimportant in contemplation of the 

37 



I 



value which will result from the Philippines as a point of distribution 
from which American products can command trade in the orient. Prom 
that point of vantage, with our harbors at Honolulu and Tutuila, in the 
Samoan groups, for coaling, watering, and repairing, we will be ready 
to conquer our rightful share of that great market now opening for the 
world's commerce. . . . Whatever ensues, under Republican reconstruc- 
tion of our plain treaty rights we can legally and morally reserve unto 
ourselves perpetual commercial advantages of priceless value to our for- 
eign trade from time to time." 

Champions Capitalist Tariffs 

Though LaFollette is today attacking the Fordney-McCumber Tariff 
Law as an iniquitous measure, he has for many years been a high tariff 
advocate. It is true, the Wisconsin Moses has of late been changing some- 
what his attitude on the question of highest tariff Yet, on the whole his 
practice does not indicate a change, even at so late a date as the con- 
sideration of the Emergency Tariff in February, 1921. 

Working in close co-operation with Dingley and Payne, LaFollette as 
a member of the Ways and Means Committee in the Fifty-First Congress 
advocated a high tariff duty on tin plate in order to build up this industry. 
The American Tin Plate Company, capitalized at more than fifty million 
dollars, the Tin Plate Trust, a subsidiary of the United States Steel Cor- 
poration, is a monument to LaFollette's progressivism on the tariff. 

Then, when the Payne Aldrich Tariff Bill was being considered, La- 
Follette put up an aggressive fight to secure an amendment "to enable the 
mills now manufacturing print paper in Wisconsin to so adjust them- 
selves with respect to the manufacture of paper not requiring spruce wood, 
that they could manufacture it economically without changing the location 
of those plants." 

LaFollette has always been a loyal defender of the zinc interests in 
his state. On June 16th, 1909, LaFollette made a special plea to the senate 
to lay a duty on zinc "based on the difference in the cost of production in 
this country and Mexico. ... a protective duty measuring the differ- 
ence between the cost of production in Mexico and in Wisconsin and in 
Joplin as well. . . ." 

Votes for High Tariff 

Several years later appearing before the committee conducting hear- 
ings on the Maintenance of a Lobby to Influence Legislation, LaFollette 
made an interesting confession explaining why he refused to vote on the 
higher tariff rates on zinc, and why he spoke for it. He said in part: 

"I own an interest in some zinc bearing lands in Southwestern Wis- 
consin. I ought perhaps to say that when the tariff on zinc was under 
consideration, four years ago, I felt as one of the Senators representing 
the state of Wisconsin in which are located about three counties produc- 
ing zinc and lead that it was my duty to present to the senate the argu- 
ments that it seemed to me should be made from their standpoint. While 
my interest in the matter was such that I wanted to be excused from vot- 
ing on the amendment relating to this subject. I felt those I represented 

38 



I 

[ 



were entitled to have the argument presented and so I made on the floor 
of the senate what might be called an argument to influence action upon 
the question." (Pages 190-191.) 

Scrutinizing the various votes on the emergency tariff (H. R. 15275), 
we find that the Wisconsin Senator voted to change the tariff on wheat 
from thirty to forty cents, for two cents per pound on frozen meat, the 
Smoot amendement for tariff on sugar and molasses, a duty of eight cents 
per pound on butter and substitutes, and a tariff on condensed milk.. La- 
Follette's votes indicate that he believes in a tariff to protect many of the 
business interests of the country. 

Progressive Group Shoddy 

Senator LaFollette is noted for his ability to fillibuster. On several 
occasions, in the Senate, LaFollette has held up various measures by his 
ability to talk the proposals of his colleagues of the opposition to death. 

Last June LaFollette had an opportunity to prevent the Coolidge 
machine from adjourning Congress without being forced to expose its 
unwillingness and incompetency to meet the needs and demands of the 
bankrupt farming masses. But LaFollette refused to exercise his filibus- 
tering skill, which, in this instance, would have struck a damaging blow 
at the reactionaries. Instead, he voted for the resolution of Senator Jones 
of Washington to adjourn, after making several vain efforts to secure a 
majority vote for his proposed stay in session a few weeks longer. 

In consideration of the Tax Bill, before the last session of Congress 
LaFollette's progressives in the House led in this debate by the Wiscon- 
sin Congressman Frear, joined forces with the reactionary Republican 
clique to vote for the multi-millionaire Longworth's bill. In doing so, 
the progressives did not get a thing from the administration and sacri- 
ficed even the insignificant demands they themselves had made towards 
shifting the burden of taxation to the richest. 

Perhaps the most disgraceful behavior of LaFollette's so-called insur- 
gent group was shown in the disastrous sally it made in behalf of liber- 
alizing the rules of procedure in the House of Representatives. These pro- 
gressives were in a position, through their power to obstruct, to win 
recognition for their demands. But the progressive group refused to fight 
effectively. It surrendered to the reactionaries by agreeing to a post- 
ponement of constructive action for thirty days. 

Progressivism Disappearing 

Most of the legislation enacted in Wisconsin is no longer considered 
radical. As we have seen, twenty-six of the thirty-one planks that La- 
Follette has presented to the Republican convention, prior to the last one, 
are now law. Competent political observers, like William Hard, have de- 
clared that LaFollette is growing less radical with time. 

In this light is it interesting, as well as instructive, to consider the 
following written by Richard Barry, in the Hearst's International for Aug. 
1922: "When early in the present Congress, some insurgents declared 
they would depose Penrose, from his Finance Committee chnirmnnship, 
LaFollette refused to join them. Penrose sought out his collc-jigun Trom 

39 







Wisconsin and expressed appreciation." Penrose, who is now dead, was 
one of the old guard reactionary senators from Pennsylvania. 

Mr. Carter Field writing in the New York Tribune of January 18th, 
1924, said, apropos of LaFollette's friendship with Penrose: "It was 
'Bob' and 'Boies' when they met, and that was not all. When LaFollette 
came up for re-election it was Penrose who hurried up to the hated Wall 
Street and brought back money to help re-elect 'Bob' every time." 

Finally we call upon the Searchlight on Congress, an organ friendly 
to LaFollette, to dispel any illusions that may have been spread among 
workingmen and poor farmers about the radicalism of the Wisconsin 
Senator. We quote from its issue of March 31st, 1924: 

"There may be some who look with apprehension upon this strangely 
altered situation because of their fear that LaFollette may prove ultra 
radical. Let no one lose any sleep on that score. LaFollette is not ultra- 
radical. He is not even radical. On the contrary, he is decidedly con- 
servative. 

"His record proves that, when given authority, he slows up." 



Chapter XIII 



THE SOCIALIST PARTY AND LAFOLLETTE 

FOR many years there was unrelenting hostility between the Socialist 
Party and the followers of Senator LaFollette. Despite the repeated 
flirtations of the Socialist Party bosses with the Wisconsin reform wizard, 
the membership time and again prevented a merger of their organization 
with the Badger state senator. In fact, there was a time when feeling ran 
so high against such improper political coquetting that a national referen- 
dum was held to decide on the expulsion of Berger from the Socialist 
Party on the charge of having been guilty of collusion with capitalist 
politicians. 

It was this continued, strong opposition of the Socialist Party rank 
and file that forced the leaders to denounce LaFollette on many occasions. 
Time and again the Socialist membership drove the party officials to at- 
tack LaFollette's trust-busting program, the graft with which his machine 
was reeking, his anti-labor lieutenants, his opposition to the working 
class waging political struggles against the exploiters, and his general 
fraudulent progressivism. 

In the light of the success finally achieved by the leaders of the So- 
cialist Party in annihilating its last possible claim to be called a party 
of independent working class political action, a review of what the Social- 
ist rank and file one actually compelled these same leaders to say of 
Robert M. LaFollette is very timely. 

Charged with LaFollettism 

Even twenty years ago Berger had his eye on the LaFollette band- 
wagon. In 1905 he was charged, on this score, with having an under- 

40 




/ 






standing with capitalist parties. It was only his control of the Wisconsin 
party machine that saved Berger's political neck and face. 

Interesting information on the strong opposition of the general social- 
ist membership to these Berger "understandings" is afforded by the fol- 
lowing report of the Social Democratic Herald of June 10, 1905: 

"The State Executive Board also points to the fact that the National 
Committee has not awaited the investigation of the State Executive Board 
of Wisconsin but has already removed Comrade Berger from the National 
Committee. 

"The finding of the State Executive Board of Wisconsin (Bei'ger 
committee) is as follows: 

"That no collusion or understanding of any sort whatever exists, or 
at any time existed, between the Social Democratic Party of Milwaukee or 
Comrade Berger and any capitalistic party, candidate or candidates." 

The removal of Berger by the National Committee was then submitted 
to a referendum, the Crestline Referendum. 4,215 voted for the expul- 
sion of Victor Berger. 4,718 voted against his expulsion. Wisconsin, 
where Berger was in absolute control of the party machinery, cast 975 
votes. National secretary Mailly then charged that Wisconsin was not 
entitled to cast that many votes, as it was much behind in dues, and that 
this alone saved Berger from being thrown out by the membership for 
his having been in collusion with capitalist parties and politicians. 

Then, as now, the dominant capitalist party in Wisconsin was the La- 
Follette republican crew. 

Attack LaFollette Labor Record 

Today LaFollette is in an alliance with the Socialist Party and is 
seeking the support of the workers on the basis of his record in Wisconsin 
and in Congress. It is this record that the Socialist bureaucracy has 
forced its membership to indorse. Let us call upon the Social Democratic 
Herald of July 1, 1905, totell us what the Socialists once thought of the 
LaFollette regime in the Wisconsin Commonwealth. We read : 

"The LaFollette legislature has had the worst record of killing labor 
bills of any of its predecessors." 

Victor Berger further declared in the Milwaukee Free Press of Sep- 
tember 13, 1906: "LaFollette is trying to do the same thing in the Re- 
publican party that Altgeld tried in the Democratic, and he will have less 
success, because the Democratic party had no principles except to get 
graft, while the Republican party has well-defined principles for capitalism 
and is proud of them." 

As late as April 6, 1923, the Milwaukee Leader took occasion to at- 
tack the LaFollette machine because it saved the private detective agen- 
cies of Wisconsin. In its comment on the failure of the state senate to 
interfere with the private detective agencies breaking strikes, Berger's 
mouthpiece said: 

"Senator Howard Teasdale, one of the LaFollette senators who swung 
over to the lobby for private detective agencies, opposed the bill (to regu- 
late) because it would make it difficult for reformers to smell out vice." 

41 




LaFollette Class Enemy 

Especially significant is the following comment on the Farmer-Labor 
Party campaign of 1920 made by the Socialist Party in its national cam- 
paign book of that year: 

'Its (the Farmer-Labor Party's) selection of Christensen for Presi- 
dent a man unknown in the struggles of the workers, a man who was will- 
ing to withdraw in favor of LaFollette, shows the danger of deserting the 
Socialist Party for the Farmer-Labor Party. LaFollette, Christensen's 
choice, was unwilling to have the platform contain a protest in behalf of 
the Negro. LaFollette opposed any 'radical' platform. He wanted a 'lib- 
eral' platform that would not offend many conservative voters, one that 
would not suggest a 'class party.' 

"If LaFollette and his views can be satisfactory to Christensen, the 
latter cannot be satisfactory to determined and enlightened working men 
and women. A class party of the workers is needed." (Page 74.) 

It is on this record that LaFollette has won over the Socialist Party 
leadership. LaFollette has not dropped his vigorous opposition to a class 
party of the workers. The Wisconsin senator is as vociferous as ever in 
his denunciation of any and all who dare call his program radical. At the 
Cleveland Conference it was LaFollette's influence that prevented the 
gathering from taking an official attitude towards the Negro problem 
and the Ku Klux Klan. 

In 1920 LaFollette failed in his effort to kill the Farmer-Labor Party. 
In 1920 the Farmer-Labor Party refused to permit LaFollette to dictate 
its principles. Four years after, last July, 1924, LaFollette succeeded in 
striking a mortal blow at the farmer-labor movement. The same socialist 
leaders who denounced these efforts of LaFollette in 1920 helped the same 
LaFollette to undertime the independent working class political movement 
in 1924. And this in spite of the fact that today, more than ever before, 
there is an urgent need for a class party of the workers! 

Socialists Right-About Face 

In the past the Socialists have not minced words in ripping up La- 
Follette's trust-busting program. On September 3, 1904, the Wisconsin 
Socialist state convention adopted a resolution which read: "As for Gov- 
ernor LaFollette, he is powerless against the trusts and capitalists, be- 
cause, as a good Republican and lawyer, he cannot consistently oppose 
property rights of any kind. These rights are more sacred to all so- 
called reformers than the rights of man." 

Daniel Hoan, now Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, has made it clear 
in his pamphlet "The Failure of Regulation" that: "Not only were trusts 
not prosecuted in Wisconsin while Senator LaFollette was governor, but 
they have not been prosecuted before or since in spite of the fact that 
there was then and is now a statute (section 1791-j) which provides in 
substance that any combination organized under the laws of Wisconsin, 
which shall enter into any combination or agreement to prevent compe- 
tition or to control prices, shall, in an action instituted by the attorney- 
goneral of the state, have its charter revoked." 

42 



; 



! 



But Hoan has changed his mind, though LaFollette has not. Today, 
Hoan is asking the working men to vote for this program of LaFollette. 

Spurned Progressivism 

Before the Socialist Party committed suicide it, now and then, took 
occasion to expose the so-called progressivism of LaFollette and his fol- 
lowers. Commenting on LaFollette's support of one Thompson against 
the labor leader Frank J. Weber, running for the United States Senate, the 
Milwaukee Leader said on October 22, 1920: 

"And here comes Bob LaFollette and his would-be progressives and 
would-be union men and puts up Mr. Thompson. . . That's dirty politics 
on the part of the progressives, who by the way are composed of town 
politicians and fake labor leaders who are looking to LaFollette to pick 
them up and give them a better office not for the best interests of the 
people, but to further their own ends and keep the progressive forces 
divided." 

Summing up the net results of LaFollette's program in Wisconsin, 
Mayor Hoan declared in his "Failure of Regulation" (Page 54): "The 
results which followed the enactment of the law regulating public service 
corporations in Wisconsin have very much pleased the special interests. 
The chief reasons for this are the following: The largest consumers get 
the lowest rates. Public utility stocks and bonds enjoy a rise in value. 
The utility corporation is protected from competition. The owners are 
granted an indeterminate franchise. The investors are granted large 
dividends." 

What more could the employers ask from the government? 

Talks Against Progressives 

Finally, Victor Berger addressing Congress on May 10, 1924, character- 
ized the spurious progressives, at whose feet he is now worshiping, in the 
following stinging manner: "Our progressive politicians are also worse 
than useless, so long as they hang on to the coat tails of the old parties, 
because these progressives are simply assisting in the sham battle, 

"No matter what beautiful phrases this or the other great progressive 
leader may use in order to get the votes of the 'plain people' the policy 
of both, and especially of the Republican party, is invariably dictated 
by Wall Street and high finance." 

Yet, today, three months after this speech Berger has driven his 
party to become part and parcel of the LaFollette movement, of the La- 
Follette organization which is supporting many Republican and Demo- 
cratic congressmen, senators and governors who are avowed enemies of 
the workers. In Wisconsin, for instance, LaFollette is backing Governor 
Blain who is scores of miles away from progressivism. In New York, 
for example, LaFollette is supporting the Republican Congressman Dick- 
stein against the Socialist, Meyer London. In Montana, LaFollette and 
Wheeler are behind Senator Walsh whom the State Federation of Labor 
has denounced in its last convention as a bitter foe of the workers, and as 
the author of the state criminal syndicalist law. 

43 



" 



i 



What About Members? 

What will the rank and file of the Socialist Party say to this complete 
right-about-face of their leaders? How will they look upon their party 
committing hari-kari as an independent political organization? Is there 
no way in which they can square accounts with their mislead ers who 
have stabbed in the back the movement for independent working class 
political action? 

Will they be satisfied to follow the leadership of and put their faith 
in LaFollette who has for years done everything in his power to thwart 
the attempts of the workers to organize themselves as a class to fight 
politically against their exploiters? 

Merely to put these questions is to answer them for the class-con- 
scious workers of the entire country. 

Chapter XIV 

THE LAFOLLETTE PROGRAM 

THERE are two sacred parts to the ritual of the so-called "progres- 
sive" movement led by Senator Robert M. LaFollette. 

First, we have an insistence on substituting for the highly concen- 
trated industrial system of today a free, competitive capitalist order 
of yesterday. Then, being dominantly a movement in the interests of 
the middle and lower strata of the capital-owning class, it is opposed to 
rule by the working class or rule by the uppermost and highest devel- 
oped, corporate exploiting groups. 

In practice, however, the latter attitude tends more and more to 
translate itself into a policy of implacable hostility to the establishment 
of a workers' and farmers' republic. In the everyday political life of 
the country, this pillar of LaFolletteism is becoming an ever-more dan- 
gerous obstacle in the path of the workingmen and exploited farmers 
who are seeking to end the dictatorship of the capitalist class. This 
"non-partisan" doctrine is today a toxin sapping the very life-blood and 
energy of the working masses who are craving, still vaguely and uncon- 
sciously in the main, for an economic order in which there will be no 
exploited workers and employing class exploiters — big, medium, or small. 

Let us, then, look into the political validity and economic soundness 
of these features of the LaFollette program. 

An Impossible Fight 

For more than three decades LaFollette has been massing his bat- 
teries against the "combined power of the private monopoly system over 
the political and economic life of the American people." During all 
these years the Wisconsin Senator has looked upon John Sherman, 
father of the still-born Sherman anti-trust act, as his god. Even in the 
July 4 letter accepting the presidential nomination by the Progressive 
Conference, LaFollette spoke of Sherman as "The clearest-visioned Re- 

44 



■ 



r 



publican statesman of his time" and called the Sherman Law, enacted 
by a Republican Congress in 1890, "the most effective weapon that the 
ingenuity of man could devise against the power of monopoly." 

This weapon has proved ingenious indeed! The trend of economic 
development in the United States has for some time proved and proves 
today that the economics on which the LaFollette movement bases its 
politics is hopelessly wrong. Concentration of industry and finance has 
been making strides in seven-league boots. No amount of indignant 
yopping could or can prevent this tendency. Assuming that all the 
witch-doctors' remedies against trusts proved successful, the very day 
on which free, capitalist competition would be restored, would be the 
same day on which this competition would start to dig its own grave and 
thru elimination and mergers would continually beget concentration of 
ownership and centralization of control — trustification. 

Trusts Go Forward 

Despite years of hunting the trusts with whips and torches, the giant 
corporations have steadily gained in strength. The march of the forces 
making for large-scale production has gone on apace. The thirty-three 
powerful Standard Oil subsidiaries whose oil wells and pipe lines over- 
flow and undermine the country, are thirty-three living monuments to 
the inefficiency of anti-trust legislation and to the uselessness of judicial 
dissolution suits. The tobacco, steel, copper, coal, and other monopolies 
tell similar stories. 

But it is the dull, dreary, and apparently uninspiring figures of 
American economic development that plumb the depths of the economic 
fallacy of trust-busting. 

We find that, in the manufacturing industries, the proportion of es- 
tablishments employing 501 and more workers increased from 28 per 
cent in 1909 to 39.6 per cent in 1919. At the same time the proportion 
of manufacturing establishments employing from one to fifty workers 
fell from 26 per cent in 1909 to 19.4 per cent in 1919. 

In 1909, only 25.9 per cent of the manufacturing industries employing 
75.6 per cent of the workers and accounting for 79 per cent of the total 
value of the commodities produced, were corporation-owned. By 1919 
the proportion of corporation-owned manufacturing establishments rose 
to 31.5 per cent; the percentage of workers employed reached 86.5 per 
cent; and the value of the commodities produced by these workers 
mounted to 87.7 per cent of the total. 

During this decade, 1909-1919, the proportion of individually-owned 
plants declined from 52.4 to 47.6 per cent; the percentage of the workers 
thus employed fell from 12.2 to 6.9 per cent; and the value of these prod- 
ucts sank from 9.9 to 5.7 per cent of the total. 

And Wisconsin, the citadel of LaFollette today ranks fifth in the pro- 
portion of its manufacturing industries which are corporation-owned. 
The Badger State has 92.6 per cent of its manufacturing plants owned by 
corporations. 

45 




Concentration Goes on Apace 

Prom 1914 to 1919 the number of manufacturing concerns producing 
less than $5,000 a year declined from 97,060 to 65,485. In this period the 
plants producing from $20,000 to $100,000 annually, rose from 56,814 to 
77,911; plants turning out from $100,000 to $500,000 rose from 25,847 to 
39,647; plants producing from $500,000 to $1,000,000 yearly mounted from 
4,320 to 9,208; and factories producing more than one million dollars 
advanced from 3,819 to 10,414. Thus, the most concentrated industries 
show gains in strength ranging from 200 to 300 per cent. 

Then, the number of wage workers employed by corporations pro- 
ducing a value of less than one million dollars fell from 4,560,241 to 3,- 
923,662. On the other hand, the total employed in manufacturing indus- 
tries increased in this period. At the same time the number of workers 
employed by manufacturing establishments producing one million dol- 
lars or more, rose from 2,476,006 to 5,172,712. 

Finally, in 1914, less than half of the total value of manufactured 
products were turned out in plants producing more than one million dol- 
lars. By 1919, the proportion of the total value of manufactured com- 
modities turned out in plants producing more than one million dollars 
annually was well over two-thirds. 

Hurting Workers 

Indeed, insofar as the effectiveness of the anti-trust laws matters, 
they have proved their mettle only against the organizations of the 
workers. Such bitter experiences have these anti-trust edicts proved to 
the workingmen that, today, even the American Federation of Labor is 
for their repeal. It is significant that the Clayton Act, once called by 
Gompers the "Magna Charta" of Labor, has lost nearly all of its favor 
with its worshippers of yesterday. 

But even if LaFollette's program were realizable, would it be de- 
sirable? The answer is decisively NO. It is not large-scale production, 
it is not highly centralized industry that is responsible for the sufferings 
and hardships of the great mass of our population. Small-scale compe- 
titive capitalist production, assuming that it could be perpetuated, is 
socially undesirable. It would deprive the masses of many of their gains 
achieved by them thru years of bitter struggle for higher standards of 
living. 

Standing on Its Head 

LaFollette's economic program is standing on its head. Marx would 
say that "It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover 
the rational kernel within the mystical shell." The trouble with the 
present system of production and exchange is not that it is highly de- 
veloped. The basic trouble is that the highly concentrated, large-scale 
means of production and exchange, all socially used, are privately owned 
for private profits. The way to end these anti-social conditions giving 
rise to unemployment, long hours, degrading working conditions, and 
numerous other causes of suffering among the masses is to end the pri- 
vate ownership of capital. 

46 



I 



i 



But this is precisely what LaFollette is inveterately opposed to. La 
Follette is a determined defender of the private ownership of capital 
of the means of the production and exchange, socially used. The social- 
ization of the tursts, the socialization of the well-developed means of 
subsistence, is anathema to LaFollette, for it would mean the end of the 
private profit, the capitalist system. 

Useless Immediate Objectives 

Consequently, no one will swallow LaFollette's anti-trust proposals 
at a gulp. In the light of the story of our economic development aim 
Is umber 1 of the "progressive" platform striving for "The use of the 
power of the federal government to crush private monopoly, not to foster 
it holds out no hope to the workers. 

And so long as private owners, capitalists, are with us to coin the 
advantages of large-scale production primarily for the enhancement of 
their profits, point Number Four of LaFollette's program, "the repeal of 
excessive tariff duties, especially on trust-controlled necessities of life " 
becomes a meaningless phrase. 

Point Seven, seeking "legislation to control the meat-packing in- 
dustry," is simply another instance of flying in the face of facts. For 
years LaFollette has been after the packing interests. Yet, today, their 
hold on the government is as strong as ever. This is due to the fact that 
the ownership of so vital a necessity is permitted to rest in private 
hands. This is just what LaFollette refuses to disturb. 

Misleading Politics 

Turning our attention to the second, the political phase of LaFol- 
letteism, we are not surprised to find the strongest opposition to work- 
ing class action. 

When the "progressive" platform says that "class gains are tempo- 
rary," it is merely befogging the issue. History's verdict on this point 
is as much opposed to LaFoIIetteism as the science of economics is to 
his anti-trust program. The story of the American Revolutionary War 
the outcome of the Civil War, the gigantic strikes waged by our workers' 
the demoralizing attacks and outrages perpetrated by the LaFollette 
group against the movement for the independent working class political 
action, and the very campaign LaFollette himself is now leading, all give 
the lie to this unfounded proposal. 

The best way in which the greatest numbers of the members of any 
economic group can achieve the maximum politico-social advantages is 
thru co-ordinated disciplined political action on a broad scale against 
the opposing economic group. This, of course, is Class action This 
is exactly what LaFollette is attempting to do in behalf of his own 
class of small manufacturers, petty businessmen, and mushroom bankers. 

More Empty Gestures 

Hence Point Eleven of LaFollette's program asking for tho "Junc- 
tion of all federal judges without party designation for limited terms' 




is an empty gesture. With the press, the means of production and ex- 
change, the means of government, information, and misinformation all 
being in the hands of the exploiters; with the very running for office 
having been trained in capitalist class law and institutions, it is a 
travesty on the workers' intelligence to expect them to accept such 
noisy but worthless phraseology. 

Last but not least, it is natural for so energetic a spokesman of the 
middle business interests as LaFollette to denounce any attempt that 
might be made by the workers as a class towards asserting their poli- 
tical power. Such action by the workers would take them out of the 
Wisconsin Senator's political camp and would in time bring them into 
a sharp clash with the exploiters of all dimensions and all intentions, as 
a class. Defeat, for all capitalists of all sizes is the much-dreaded out- 
come that LaFollette foresees in all moves towards independent work- 
ing class political action. This explains LaFollette's undermining the 
St. Paul convention and his attack on the Communists. 

Workers Do Organize 

But no wholesale dabbling in the glorification of the non-partisan 
appeal by fraudulent progressives can change the course of economic 
development. Capitalist industry itself, and not evil men or bad spirits, 
gives rise to an increasingly sharpening class struggle. Capitalism it- 
self tends to lay the firm foundation for the organization of the workers 
as a class, along political lines. 

It is the very experiences of the workers in their struggles with all 
strata of the employing class that gives rise to and prepare the ground 
for the working class setting up its own governing, state apparatus. 
These conditions and such experiences determine the character of the 
new state machinery organically and best suited to guarantee the rule 
of the working class towards the end of building a social order free 
from the economic class divisions of exploiter and exploited — 
Communism. 



It 



43 



|JIIIIIIIlllI]|llllIlillJllllllfIII1|]|l1lllllllfllillllflllllllEIIJIII1IIIIIIIIJItllIll11lfllI111lllll]|||tlllll!llllllllllllllltllllllllllIlllll^ 

Will You 
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